Matt Rutherford is from a bygone age, an age of Shackleton, Cook and Scott. He is on a small 27 foot sailboat, and is circling the Americas – Atlantic, Northwest Passage, Alaska, the Pacific, the Horn, and now the Atlantic. He is doing it on the St. Brenden, a 27 foot (you read that right) Albin-Vega. Right now he is in the middle of the South Atlantic making his way home for Annapolis.
The scope of this journey cannot be overstated. It will go down as one of the great sea voyages and feats of seamanship upon completion. He will not touch land the entire voyage. His yacht has been accumulating water in the bilge and his pumps have failed – forcing him to use the most ancient of bailing methods, a can.
St. Brenden is the patron of sailors. If you have ever been in any sort of sea, on a small boat, you appreciate the feat Rutherford is attempting. Twenty seven feet. The angry sea is one of the most awe inspiring scenes on earth.
I’ve seen what 4 foot seas on the Chesapeake can do to a 30 foot yacht. I’ve been in the middle of the blue Atlantic 200 miles offshore in 35 knots with 44 feet of stiff blue water sailing equipment underneath me. There is a type of fear experienced at sea that one cannot on land. I don’t want to even imagine what Rutherford has faced in a 27 foot boat on this journey.
He is doing it all for CRAB – the Chesapeake Region Accessible Boating (CRAB), a nonprofit sailing program for people with disabilities. You can follow his trip in real time here, with occasional updates and stories to stagger the imagination.