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Solo sailor rounds the Americas

May 10, 2012
Rutherford underway on his Albin Vega 27, St. Brendan

Rutherford underway on his Albin Vega 27, St. Brendan

Matt Rutherford

Solo sailor Matt Rutherford, sailing in furtherance of Americans with disabilities, returned to Maryland in April following a solo, nonstop circumnavigation of the Americas. Rutherford sailed his 27-foot sloop St. Brendan 27,000 miles--from Annapolis northward, through the Northwest Passage, south through the Pacific, around Cape Horn, and up the East Coast of South America, to finally complete his voyage in late April.

  Rutherford declared that the first thing he did after stepping ashore on City Dock in Annapolis: "Had some beer and some ribs," Rutherford told NPR's Neil Conan. Rutherford had no heater on board ("Couldn't afford one.") and rode out storms with a sea anchor with 400 feet of line, was almost shipwrecked twice. Rutherford's manual watermaker required half an hour to make a glass of water, which meant pumping 1,500 times every 24 hours. He endured repeated gear failures: "Electronics broke, engine broke, lights broke, solar panels broke." Highlights included offshore delivery of pizza and rum--tossed aboard in boxes--and his only regular friends were the barnacles affixed to the stern of St. Brendan. The journey was made to benefit the Chesapeake Area Regional Boating program (CRAB).

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