Message from Gerry Hughes
This is Gerry, back alive! At last I’ve got access to a computer in Newport Yacht Club. Unbelievably their Internet connections have been broken as well! Communication breakdown must be contagious! Since arriving in Newport I’ve had a little time to reflect. The OSTAR has be an extremely tough race and the most hardest thing I have ever done in my life. It has been wonderful here and from on that I arrived at the Newport Yacht Club I have been made to feel most welcome. The Rear Commodore Norman P Bailey Sr. in particular has been so good to me and has looked after me while in Newport. Thank you for this. I am so happy to be back on dry land because there have been times when I thought I will never make it. I’ve got through two terrible storms and spent many days in heavy fog with no navigation lights. It’s no exaggeration to say that I have been so low that I very nearly pressed the emergency button on the Quest II (the automatic distress call for help). Everything seemed to go wrong electronically, my batteries were dead and the boat was flooded inside. It was dark and miserable beyond belief. I had just one comfort that helped keep me going… a tiny oil lamp that glowed across small room while the sea raged outside. I could feel the vibration caused by wind and wave roaring against the Quest II, but the wee oil lamp helped me to remain calm, pushing thoughts of prodding the emergency button away and focusing me on my ambition to get the job done. During the 6 days of fog I passed through busy shipping lanes along the George Bank and then the Nantucket Shoals. It was very dangerous for any yacht, but I had an added disadvantage due to electronic problems. I discovered shallow sea near Martha’s Vineyard, a place that is linked to my story not just by geography, but by having what might be described as a “mainstream” Deaf community. The fog made it impossible to see any land until it was just a few meters away - not good! When I did see land I just thought Thank God!
When I arrived at Newport Yacht Club I found out (with some help from Rear Commodore Noram P Bailey Sr.) that my wife Kay and family were in Boston. Eventually, I was able to contact them and arranged for them to be in Newport in a couple of hours. I was so exhausted I fell asleep properly for the first time since leaving Plymouth. It was very dark when I woke up. I took a walk around the Marina and could hardly understand that this was America! Then I saw my wife Kay waving her hands and screaming – she nearly blew me into the sea! I was so happy to see my family again.
I look forward to seeing u all and will tell u more later