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Thursday * January 6, 2005

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'Silent Voyager' Charl de Villiers
Completes Historic Solo Voyage

The heroic and record-setting journey of Charl de Villiers came to an end on Sunday (Dec. 19, 2004) with nearly 300 people lining the shoreline as he sailed back into Palacios following his 9-month solo around the world odyssey.

The triumphant 44-year old de Villiers, sailed his 37-foot Tartan 1977 sailboat Island Time into a slip at the Serendipity Resort RV Park & Marina around 1:30 p.m. to become the first deaf person to have sailed around the globe completely alone.

Beaming with pride and understandably tired, de Villiers shared an emotional reunion on the dock with his wife, Beverly, 19-yr. old daughter Sharleen and 17-yr. old son, Gideon. He was also surprised to be greeted by his father, Johan, who flew in from East London, South Africa for the homecoming.

Climbing atop Island Time as it neared the port jetties, Charl ignited red flares and waved them in triumph as he returned to the marina from which he had set sail from 289 days earlier on March 6.

Among the family, friends, media and well-wishers welcoming Charl back, were his Victoria rugby teammate. After dowsing him with champagne, they hoisted them up on their shoulders in celebration.

Charl was presented with a proclamation from Palacios Mayor John Connor designating Dec. 19, 2004 as Charl de Villiers Day and received a Commendation issued by Governor Rick Perry. In addition, a presentation was made by a representative of the Port Lavaca Chamber of Commerce and he was given a collection of drawings made by Palacios ISD elementary students commemorating his feat.

Touched by the turnout on hand to celebrate his return, Charl thanked everyone for their support and especially their prayers during his journey.

His wife and children, also placed a floral wreath on the Island Time in recognition of having served Charl safely for nine months.

Mayor Connor's proclamation urged the public to reflect upon the incredible world record de Villiers had set and to "strive to bring their own dreams to fruition" and to "support efforts of the deaf and disabled to be produce and respected members of our country."

In noting that de Villiers has become the first deaf person in history to solo circumnavigate, the mayor's proclamation also noted that "he has shown great courage, vision and tenacity, bring a positive image of deaf and disabled to all people of the world".

It also stated that "de Villiers has furthered the cause of the hearing impaired by demonstrating that a perceived handicap does not stop a person from fulfilling a dream."

In his letter to Charl, Gov. Perry called his feat an "inspiration journey" that demonstrated that "even the most ambitious goals can be made a reality" with determination and diligence.

At the outset of his quest, Charl had anticipated it would take 9 to 10 months to accomplish his goal, but that he hoped to return to Palacios to be with his family in time for Christmas. With his courage and perseverance, he accomplished both his goal and met his timetable.

After allowing him to enjoy time with his family and a well-deserved rest, family and friends plan reception to honor de Villiers after the holidays.


Charl gets a tearful hug from his wife, Beverly, and a surprise from his father, Johan.

Click here for more pictures of Silent Voyager's return


Click here for article at the outset of Charl's journey.
Click here for article as Charl's journey nears its conclusion.
 

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