A GLASGOW teacher who has become 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 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.

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.

"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. It was very difficult, but I knew he would make it round the world."

The couple teach at St Roch's Secondary School, Glasgow.

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."

Mr Hughes was introduced to sailing by his father at the age of two. In 1981, he was the first deaf skipper to sail around the British Isles and in 2005 the first to sail single-handed across the Atlantic.