Annapolis-based explorer and sailor Matt Rutherford was honored for his incredible solo journey circumnavigating North and South America aboard a sailboat. At first glance his accomplishment seems daring but when you take into consideration the dangerous northern waterways, his lack of modern equipment (and probably boat insurance) and his relentless endurance it is truly awe inspiring and a little terrifying.
The Ocean Cruising Club awarded him the Jester Medal for his successful record-breaking and breath-taking journey of more than 27,000 miles in 309 days. This medal is given to someone who has made an outstanding contribution to single-handed sailing.
It is easy to see why Rutherford qualifies for the Jester Medal. He is the first person to sail a route around the Americas by himself without stopping. To consider that he accomplished this without radar aboard a nearly 40-year-old, donated Albin Vega sailboat measuring just 27 feet in length is courageous bordering on the suicidal.
To put this in perspective for the uninitiated in the ways of exploration and danger, Rutherford navigated some of the world’s most difficult and dangerous waterways, including the perilous Cape Horn and the famously difficult Northwest Passage. One can only hope that he had adequate sailboat insurance through a reputable marine insurance agency!
The first explorer who survived navigating the Northwest Passage was a Norwegian by the name of Roald Amundsen. He took much longer than Rutherford, completing his voyage from 1903 to 1906 – achieving international attention and adulation for his three-year odyssey – but Amundsen did so aboard a larger vessel with a small crew.
Not only did Rutherford complete his journey in less than one year, alone, he didn’t even have the money, according to media reports, for proper waterproof headgear – using a paintball mask instead. He endured grinding, solitude and unending hard work aboard the modest sailboat he named the Saint Brendan after an early explorer – and evidently wise choice for a patron saint.
Rutherford demonstrated incredible courage, endurance and skill, but that’s not all. He has proven to be incredibly kind by using the voyage as a way to also fundraise for a charity dear to his heart. He raised thousands of dollars for an Annapolis, MD, non-profit association he worked with that helps get people with disabilities out boating called the Chesapeake Regional Accessible Boating (CRAB).
Rutherford’s voyage is well detailed on his boat trip website. Documentary filmmakers are working to finish a chronicle of his death-defying marine feat called, Red Dot on the Ocean.
Before you undertake a challenging marine journey (hopefully less arduous and dangerous than Rutherford’s was), contact Global Marine Insurance for insurance for your boat and all of your other boating insurance needs.