The first deaf person to have sailed single-handed around the world, passing all five capes, has returned home to a hero's welcome.

Gerry Hughes, 55, fulfilled his boyhood dream of sailing past the capes, racking up 32,000 miles on an eight-month voyage.

Hundreds of members of the deaf community turned out at Troon harbour in South Ayrshire to congratulate the father-of-two who was born without hearing.

The teacher from Glasgow is one of around 300 people to have completed the feat, joining a list of successful solo-circumnavigators which includes Sir Robin Knox-Johnston and Sir Frances Chichester.

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.

He spoke of a great sense of achievement, having fulfilled an ambition he has had since he was 14.

Stormy weather often created tough sailing conditions, causing him to capsize at one stage. But he cited problems with electronic equipment, not his lack of hearing, as the biggest challenge of the trip.

Speaking through a sign language interpreter, he said: "Being deaf, the only thing I didn't have was the VHF radio contact. I feel vibrations. That's how the boat communicates with me. I'd be asleep and I knew that winds were coming. Other people can hear those things but I was able to compensate in that way.

"Because of the stormy weather, things kept breaking down so you're constantly fixing and repairing things."

Wife Kay, who is also deaf, said: "I'm so proud. I knew I had to stand by my promise and allow him to achieve his dream and when he first left it was very difficult, but I knew he would make it round the world."

Mr Hughes daughters Nicola, 23, and Ashley, 20, described their father as an inspiration to them and others.

Student Nicola said: "It's sheer determination that's got him through. I don't know anyone else like him."

A tribute also came from Sir Robin, the first man to perform a single-handed non-stop circumnavigation of the world in 1969, who kept track of Mr Hughes' sail online.

He said: "Reading Gerry's blog brings back some cold, wet and uncomfortable memories.

"It is such a relief when you clear Cape Horn and turn north.

" I shall look forward to adding Gerry to the list of solo circumnavigators south of the great capes."

The challenge is just one example of Mr Hughes' drive for success.

In 1981 he was the first deaf skipper to sail around the British Isles, he became the first to sail single-handed across the Atlantic Ocean in 2005 and he has played golf for Scotland six times in the World Deaf Golf Championships.

The sailor, who left Troon on September 1 last year, said he is now looking forward to getting in a round of golf and also returning to his teaching job at St Roch's Secondary School in Glasgow, where his wife also works.

Mr Hughes said: "The last eight months have been among the toughest of my life but despite all the challenges of the expedition, it has been a period I have thoroughly enjoyed.

"I hope that following and completing my dream can encourage young people who face similar difficulties to see that their hopes and aspirations can still be fulfilled through belief and hard work.

"The support I have received has also played a huge part in completing this voyage and it is wonderful to be reunited with my wife and daughters who have undoubtedly endured as many highs and lows as I have during the period of my challenge."

Scotland's Sports Minister Shona Robison MSP said: "To sail round the world single-handedly is achievement enough - to do so when profoundly deaf is just incredible.

"Gerry's determination and courage throughout his life to overcome his disability is truly inspirational and will teach young people, deaf and hearing, that they can overcome any obstacles they face in life."