Please select your home edition
Edition
PredictWind.com 2014

Solo sailor nearly through the Northwest Passage!

by Thomas Spitzer on 30 Aug 2011
Matt Rutherford in the NW Passage - Solo Circumnavigation of the Americas Matt Rutherford
Here's an update from Matt Rutherford as he attempts to circumnavigate the Americas non-stop and alone!

So, I was delivering a boat (Godspeed) to Antigua with Simon Edwards and Tag (Al Hunt). I was telling Tag about this idea I had during my second single-handed trans-Atlantic. I was thinking about trying to start a non-profit in Annapolis MD that would give sailing opportunities to the disabled.

Tag said 'have you ever heard of C.R.A.B?' I said 'what’s C.R.A.B?' And that is how this whole thing started. C.R.A.B (Chesapeake Regional Assessable Boating) is an Annapolis based non-profit that has been giving people with mental and physical disabilities sailing opportunities for 20 years.

After that delivery Simon and I flew from Antigua to Puerto Rico, jumped on a catamaran and delivered that to Annapolis. While in Annapolis I called Don Backe and found out more about C.R.A.B. After delivering another boat from Puerto Rico to Annapolis (with Mike 'da web mast') I finally brought my boat up from the Caribbean which completed my Annapolis to Europe, Africa, the Caribbean and back trip.

I had a little money saved up from the boat deliveries so when I got back to Annapolis instead of getting a normal job I did volunteer work with C.R.A.B. Karl would show up at 8am and we would get bagels and coffee, then off we went to do some bottom job or try to get some old funky atomic four started.

One day after looking at a 25 foot folkboat C.R.A.B. had for sale I said to Don 'You should let me take that boat up to the Northwest Passage and we’ll raise some money for C.R.A.B'. I thought he would laugh at me but he thought it was a good idea. Andy Shell wrote an article in Spinsheet which two C.R.A.B. volunteers (Colin and Lee) read – and they said 'instead of taking the 25 Folkboat why don’t you take our 27 Albin Vega'. So they swapped out their Vega for a hunter C.R.A.B. and now we had a good trip and a good boat.

I don’t own St Brendan, when I say 'my boat' I’m using 'my' loosely. It's mine in spirit, and C.R.A.B.’s by ownership. I own a Pearson 323, which is on the hard right now at Ferry Point Marina. Once we had the Vega then the huge task of raising money began. Somehow it all worked out – we are trying to raise money for C.R.A.B. two ways. Either on a money for miles basis. In other words a person would donate x amount per mile. At a penny a mile it would be a $230 donation (round about) – as long as I complete the entire trip. At a dollar a mile it would be a bunch of money.

Someone could also make a one time general donation with their credit card for any amount. It’s all tax deductible (if you live in the states). All of this can be done in the 'how I can help' section of my website. Please let people know about this trip – the more people know, the more money we can raise. If I were to complete this trip and raise no money the trip would be a failure.

The conditions have been mostly light since my last entry. I had some sun yesterday and was able to get my asymmetrical sail fixed. I flew the sail until 5:30 this morning then the wind picked up and I had to drop it. I tried to unfurl my jib but my furler is jammed. I’ve seen quite a few furlers jam before but this is a strange one. I’ve tried everything I can in 20kts of wind so I have to wait until the wind dies and climb my mast and see if I can fix it. I’m not too worried, things break around here all the time. So I finish the Northwest Passage under main sail alone. I guess it’s fitting.

Tonight I will celebrate with my last glass of warm sake. The celebration will be short. Completing the Northwest Passage in any boat is a good achievement but the Northwest Passage is just one piece of a much larger pie. This is a non-stop circumnavigation of the Americas; I must keep my eye on the ball. I must reach the Chesapeake Bay, anything less would be a failure.

Fortitudine Vincimus



NW Passage Crashing Sea - Solo Circumnavigation of the Americas © Matt Rutherford
NW Passage Crashing Sea - Solo Circumnavigation of the Americas © Matt Rutherford
Solo around the Americas website
Protector - 660 x 82Southern Spars - 100Bakewell-White Yacht Design

Related Articles

2017 RORC Caribbean 600 – More start images by Tim Wright
Tim Wright captured these stunning shots at the start of the RORC Caribbean 600. Tim Wright captured these stunning shots at the start of the RORC Caribbean 600 and along the course at St Barths, Barbuda and Redonda.
Posted today at 8:41 pm
2017 RORC Caribbean 600 start images by Tim Wright
Tim Wright captured these stunning shots at the start of the RORC Caribbean 600. Tim Wright captured these stunning shots at the start of the RORC Caribbean 600 and along the course at St Barths, Barbuda and Redonda.
Posted today at 6:18 pm
JJ Giltinan Trophy - 18ft skiff images from Race 2 in the fresh breeze
Michael Chittenden was riding on the Camera Cat for Race 2 of the JJ Giltinan Trophy for 18ft skiffs Michael Chittenden was riding on the Camera Cat for Race 2 of the JJ Giltinan Trophy for 18ft skiffs, and provided this image gallery for the day, in which Yamaha (NZ) took her second win from as many races in the seven race series. Today's race was sailed in a fresh offshore breeze, with yesterday's rain giving way to blue skies making for a magnificent day for skiff sailing.
Posted today at 11:22 am
18ft skiffs - Yamaha has second win on Day 2 of JJ Giltinan Trophy
NZ champion Yamaha team tightened the grip on the 2017 JJ Giltinan 18ft Skiff Championship NZ champion Yamaha team tightened the grip on the 2017 JJ Giltinan 18ft Skiff Championship with another stunning victory in today’s Race 2 of the championship on Sydney Harbour. With eyes set firmly on becoming the first New Zealand team to win the coveted crown on Sydney Harbour, David McDiarmid, Matt Steven and Brad Collins sailed another faultless race to win by 1m14s
Posted today at 9:43 am
Clipper Round the World - Meet the 2017-18 crew - Greg Schey
Greg Schey is well on road to achieving that dream, after completing third of four sail training levels this week “I’ve always wanted to sail around the world. Since I was knee high to a grasshopper, one thing that I’ve always said is that’s what I want to do.” Greg Schey, a 27-year-old doctor from Swansea, Wales, is well on the road to achieving that dream, after completing the third of four sail training levels this week ahead of setting off for full circumnavigation in the Clipper 2017-18 Race this summer.
Posted today at 4:37 am
18ft Skiffs - JJ Giltinan Trophy - Replay coverage - Race 2
Replay coverage of Race 2 of the JJ Giltinan 18ft Skiffs from Sydney harbour - sailing in 15kts Replay coverage of Race 2 of the JJ Giltinan 18ft Skiffs from Sydney harbour - sailing in 15kts
Posted today at 3:30 am
JJ Giltinan Trophy - More images from a funky Day 1 on Sydney Harbour
More images from Michael Chittenden from the first race of the 2017 JJ Giltinan Trophy on Sydney Harbour, Michael Chittenden was on the water for the first race of the 2017 JJ Giltinan Trophy on Sydney Harbour, sailed in a funky breeze, leaden skies and plenty of rain. Plus a 300 metre long cruise liner at one end of the course and a waka wall at the other
Posted on 25 Feb
Vendee Globe - Video of Conrad Colman finish in Les Sables d'Olonne
Scenes of Kiwi solo round the world racer, Conrad Colman taken at the finish of the Vendee Globe race Scenes of Kiwi solo round the world racer, Conrad Colman taken at the finish of the Vendee Globe race, which he completed under jury rig after being dismasted 700nm from the finish. In Foresight Natural Energy Colman became the first New Zealand sailor to complete the Vendee Globe, he also became the first in eight editions of the race to sail the entire race using only renewable energy sources.
Posted on 25 Feb
Vendee Globe - Heerema delayed by Biscay lows
With 16 boats now finished, eighth edition of the Vendée Globe becomes the race with greatest ever number of finishers. With 16 boats now finished, the eighth edition of the Vendée Globe becomes the race with greatest ever number of finishers. Until now it was the 2000-2001 edition, with 24 starters and 15 finishers, which saw the biggest number of starters reach the end of their race at the legendary South Nouch buoy.
Posted on 25 Feb
Bella Mente Racing starts 2017 season with major victory at RORC C600
Bella Mente Racing starts 2017 season off with major victory at RORC Caribbean 600 Bella Mente Racing, led by owner/driver Hap Fauth, launched its 2017 campaign season with a major victory this week, winning IRC Overall, CSA Overall and CSA 1 at the RORC Caribbean 600 in Antigua; The team took home coveted RORC Caribbean 600 Trophy for the IRC win as well as the Bella Mente Trophy, the team’s namesake award, for being first IRC yacht to finish that is wholly manually powered.
Posted on 25 Feb