Please select your home edition
Edition
Southern Spars - North Technology

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
Newport Boat Show 2016 660x82North Technology - Southern SparsZhik Warehouse Sale 660x82

Related Articles

Clipper Round the World Yacht Race - Crew catch up - Meet Dhruv Boruah
After crew members have completed their global ocean adventure, some go back to their previous lives and occupations After crew members have completed their global ocean adventure, some go back to their previous lives and occupations, some decide on a future in the marine industry, some take time out to assess their next move in life and others seek their next challenge.
Posted today at 5:49 am
Changing of the Guard at Melges 20 Worlds, Freides takes over
The second day of racing at the 2016 Melges 20 World Championship featured two races under shifty conditions 2016 Melges 20 World Championship - The second day of racing at the 2016 Melges 20 World Championship hosted by Marina di Scarlino/Club Nautico Scarlino featured two races under shifty conditions, shaking up the standings and making Drew Freides' Pacific Yankee the new leader with a one point advantage over Michael Illbruck on Pinta now seated in second place.
Posted today at 4:40 am
Vendée Globe – Yann Eliès and his team relaunch 60-ft IMOCA in Lorient
Yann is now on the final stretch before the event and will be taking part in the three training courses. Yann is now on the final stretch before the event and will be taking part in the three training courses organised at the Finistère Ocean Racing Centre in Port-la-Forêt (Brittany). He will also take part in the Azimut Trophy. Yann Eliès tells us about the work that has been done and what lies ahead in the final part of his preparation.
Posted on 26 Aug
Vendée Globe – A long trip between France and Iceland for Heerema
After completing two solo transatlantic crossings in the spring, Pieter Heerema is currently on his third major trip. After completing two solo transatlantic crossings in the spring, Pieter Heerema is currently on his third major trip. Thanks to this voyage from France to Iceland and back, the Dutch skipper is finding out more about No Way Back, the new generation IMOCA on which he will line up on 6th November
Posted on 26 Aug
Phoenix returns and Cayard is back for the TP52 World Championships
Richard Cohen will compete at the championships in Mahón, Menorca, with Phoenix, which will be skippered by Paul Cayard. The carefully assembled team includes a core group of sailors who have many years of experience in the class, but Cayard cautions that their initial objective is to learn and improve together in line with their long term goal, to be competitive on the 2017 52 Super Series.
Posted on 26 Aug
Michael Marshall triumphs at J/22 World Championship
With a second place finish in Thursday’s only race, Mike Marshall, Todd Hiller and Luke Lawrence are the champions. Heading into the 10th and final race, Marshall and Chris Doyle were tied on points at 30. As the 41 teams arrived at CORK in the morning, the after effects of an overnight storm left breeze in the mid-20s, so the Race Committee postponed on shore.
Posted on 25 Aug
Best pictures of the first 4 Acts of the Extreme Sailing Series™
An influx of fresh talent have all added to the hype, but the greatest evolution is the replacement of the Extreme 40. An influx of fresh talent, new venues and a revised race format have all added to the hype, but the greatest evolution is the replacement of the Extreme 40 by a smaller, faster catamaran: the flying GC32.
Posted on 25 Aug
Return to Russia for the Extreme Sailing Series™
Joining the fleet as the season heads into its second half is Gazprom Team Russia, led by WMRT champion, Phil Robertson. With one week to go, the fleet returns to St Petersburg for the fifth Act of the season, presented by SAP, 35 of the world’s best sailors are getting their heads in the game and preparing for the one of the trickiest venues of the season so far.
Posted on 25 Aug
Marshall and Doyle tied on points at J/22 World Championship
By way of a victory in Wednesday’s third race, Mike Marshall, Todd Hiller and Luke Lawrence are tied at 30 points By way of a victory in Wednesday’s third race, Mike Marshall, Todd Hiller and Luke Lawrence are tied at 30 points with Chris Doyle, Will Harris and Adam Burns. Jeff Todd is still in the hunt in third place with 35 points.
Posted on 24 Aug
Debriefing the 2016 Rio Olympics—Sailing news North America and beyond
Editorial Editorial
Posted on 23 Aug