Matt Rutherford is the only person to ever sail around the Western Hemisphere alone, non-stop, in a small sailboat. Braving the icebergs of the arctic and the treacherous waters of Cape Horn in a 27-foot fiberglass sloop without radar was considered by many to be a suicide mission.
Now that he has completed the 27,000 plus mile journey, Matt has joined the ranks of the world’s greatest sailors, explorers and adventurers.
Dave Sheinin of the Washington Post wrote toward the end of Matt’s journey:
By now, some 20,000 miles into this audacious odyssey, nearly everything onboard Matt Rutherford’s boat is either flat-out busted, rotted through, waterlogged beyond repair or otherwise reduced to ballast. If the insidious Arctic fog didn't do the job, seeping into every crevice of the 27-foot sailboat and all its humble contents, then the rogue waves near Cape Horn surely did. He’s down to one pair of pants, the rest having fallen victim to a black mold infestation that also cost him every last book he had carried on board, way back in June 2011, when he set out from Annapolis…
Much to his credit, Matt embarked on this extremely risky venture not simply for glory or self-knowledge, but to bring attention to and raise funds for Chesapeake Region Accessible Boating (CRAB) -- an Annapolis-based non-profit dedicated to bringing the sailing experience to physically and mentally disabled individuals.
It is hard to know for certain all the elements which led Matt to attempt such a lonesome, grueling, and dangerous odyssey, but part of it may lie in his childhood.
He describes having grown up in a “cult,” feeling angry and confused and spending part of his teen years in juvenile detention centers. Matt finally found a positive connection to education, the world, and life at Eagle Rock, a progressive high school in Colorado. After graduating, he turned this energy toward world exploration.
In his early twenties, his first adventure was a bicycle trip in Southeast Asia followed by single-handed sailing trips, which took him across the Atlantic to West Africa and then back to the Caribbean.
In a recent interview with TheSailingChannel, Herb McCormick, Senior Editor of Cruising World magazine said of Matt:
Matt’s quest was so pure and he pulled it off with such style and panache and, he did it for a great cause and organization! I’m blown away by what Matt did. I was his biggest skeptic and now I’m his biggest fan.
This is no faint praise coming from Herb who has done the same voyage himself, but on a 62-foot steel boat, with a seasoned crew and stopovers.
Tory Salvia of TheSailingChannel is partnering with documentary producer, Amy Flannery, to create a feature length documentary film about Matt and his solo circumnavigation titled, Red Dot on the Ocean, to be released in 2014.
Dramatic video footage and stills taken by Matt during his nearly one year at sea along with in-depth interviews of his family, close friends, and fellow sailors will be woven together to tell the gripping tale of one solo adventurer’s odyssey, which will inspire people to push beyond the boundaries they set for themselves.
Amy and Tory have completed 95 percent of principal photography and are seeking a distributor and corporate sponsors to fund post production.