Matt Rutherford is a dreamer. He has proven that when he says he’s going to do something, he should be taken seriously. When I first met Matt in the public anchorage in Red Hook USVI’s, he had just finished a double trans-Atlantic on his 32′ Pearson. He sailed single-handed across the far north Atlantic, eventually reaching England. His voyage took him through Northern Europe, down the coast of Africa, and ultimately 200 miles up the Gambia River before returning via the Trade Wind route to the Caribbean.
His new plan for adventure is far more ambitious and certainly more compelling. Matt intends to sail single-handed East To West through the the Northwest Passage beginning this summer. “The ice won’t melt enough to make the attempt util August,” he says – and as if it weren’t challenge enough, he’ll do it in a 27′ Albin-Vega donated to the Chesapeake Regional Accessible Boating (aka CRAB) specifically for his voyage.
Despite possessing the soul of an explorer (or perhaps because of it), Matt also possesses the compassionate heart of a good man, and has spent his time in Annapolis working with CRAB, helping persons with disabilities get out and enjoy the water. The voyage is aimed at raising money for CRAB, and Matt hopes to drum up enough support to get him through successfully while furthering CRAB’s misson. He’ll be accepting sponsorship in the form of ‘money for miles,’ and all donations will go straight towards supporting CRAB.
Once through the arctic, Matt hopes the voyage will continue: “If the boat and I are still holding up upon arrival in Alaska, we’ll keep going and head for Cape Horn,” he says. His “Grand Idea” is to complete a solo circumnavigation of the America’s, but remains cautiously optimistic, saying “The Northwest Passage is the focal point of the trip, and I can’t guarantee that the boat will make it across to Alaska before the winter sets in. But I’m certainly going to do my best to see that it does.” If he makes it all the way back to Annapolis, he’ll be the first person to have ever done so alone. Here’s to “doing,” Matt.
This adventure begins from Annapolis in June of 2011 and will be 23,000 nautical miles in it’s entirety. Arrival at the Northwest passage will be in early August which is only open for six weeks. After exiting the Passage, he will head for Cape Horn, rounding it by March 1 2012. Then he will head north up the east coast of the America’s heading home for Chesapeake Bay, passing the Caribbean before hurricane season. At 80 miles a day, it will take roughly 10 1/2 months… all of this adventure NON-STOP!