Gerry Hughes – Deaf Sailor

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Circumnavigating the world in a sailboat takes time. A lot of time. I would be remiss not to mention commitment, dedication, patience, skills in risk management and self reliance.

Now imagine doing it solo.

Now imagine being deaf.

Gerry Hughes is not the first man to brave the challenges of sailing a solo circumnavigation, (In 1969, Sir Robin Knox-Johnston became the first man to sail around the world single handed, non-stop.) but  he IS the first Deaf man to do it.

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September of 2012, Gerry Hughes set sail from the Firth of Clyde and set sail on his Beneteau 42 s7, Quest III, for the first leg of his journey – Cape Hope. After 210 days and 32,000 miles of determination, rounding all 5  capes, and even surviving a capsizing event, he arrived back in Troon, South Ayrshire in May of 2013. Gerry was met by his wife, Kay, and their two daughters, as well as a huge crowd cheering and celebrating him and his fantastic achievement. One report stated, “After hugging his tearful wife Kay, 47, on his arrival, he swapped the champagne popped in his honour for a pint of his favourite Guinness.” (source, MSN UK)

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This is a man of guts and glory. He had a dream. He made that dream come true. Bravo, Mr. Hughes! BRA-VO!

Current Projects/Future Projects… for now

Wind Affair was splashed later than anticipated this year due to the forever winter and then incessant rain.  We never found an enclosed storage facility either, so there were a few winter projects that had to wait until late spring… well, now it’s early summer! We have at least four projects going right now, and a few more that we want to get done before we take her back out of the water this fall/winter. Oh, and considering we have only left the dock to actually sail ONCE so far this season, we would really like to get these done ASAP. Good grief.

Current projects:

Rebedding Leaky Stanchion Bases
New Handrails
Replacing Windows
Replacing Shift Cable

Future Projects:

Painting topside
Redo Cabin Floor – teak
Bottom Paint
Interior Hull Paint
Starboard Storage Compartment (Galley)
Remove Jabsco Head/Install Composting Head

Part one of Project: Painting Topside will likely be moving up to the Current Project list shortly. Project: Replacing Windows, and Project: New Handrails have yielded a significant change in the coverage area on the outside of the cabin top. Old runny epoxy streaks and other such nasties are now revealed and are quite the eyesore and distraction for what should be beautiful new custom windows and handrails. We are likely going to at least throw some white primer around the cabin topside while the windows are out and the Handrails are off.

We have been photo documenting our current projects, and we will have individual posts for each if… I mean, WHEN, we finally get them completed. Our goal is always to work on just one at a time, but I have come to accept that this is just about impossible on a boat. Once you dig in to fix one problem, several more are uncovered. Everything is linked to something else, and most often you can’t address one issue without addressing the other(s). Such is life!

KODAs and Sailing

 

As I have stated before, I am an American Sign Language interpreter. As such I am involved in the Deaf community outside of work, too. Recently, I was approached about a fundraiser for KODA camp.

KODA means Kids of Deaf Adults. It is also commonly referred to as CODA – Children of Deaf Adults. And the camp is  a place for hearing kids with deaf parents to get together with other kids like them for a time of real bonding, and fun!  They learn about Deaf Culture, they are taught the rules of ASL (American Sign Language), and they get to  participate in KODAtalk – a discussion where KODAs share their life experiences with deaf parents. This promotes the feeling of belonging and continue involvement with the deaf community once the child leaves their parents’ nests as well as to be aware of the network in this big wide world.

How many of you cruisers and wanna-be cruisers have friends or family or coworkers, etc that have listened to you, your hopes, dreams and been met with the landlubber-confusion face? You know, that expression that says, “I don’t get it.” 0r “You’re weird.” or “You’re crazy.” ? Or maybe they are wonderfully supportive of your goal, but it’s still hard to talk about it sometimes because they aren’t boat or water people and don’t understand what you’re talking about! So you run to your cruiser friends where you’re understood and accepted. Here you share a culture and speak your own language, right!?

This is the way of cultures and communities all over  – and the Deaf community is no different. It’s not easy being a kid. And when you have big differences in your family unit, it can be hard to identify with your peers. While we strive to celebrate our differences, sometimes you still want to truly be able to relate. Yup! That’s why even cruisers flock together!

So anyway! I was approached about donating to a fundraiser that raises money for scholarships to send kids to this camp. My donation? A day or an evening of sail on Wind Affair.

It was supposed to go on the table for the Silent Auction, but word got around in the community that this was being offered and apparently it gained quite a bit of interest. So much so, that it was moved to the Live Auction portion of the event. I don’t know how much we generated for the cause, but I am told that the event raised over $7,000 in total. I am happy that we were able to contribute. We will add a post this summer when we take the lucky winners out on the water! !