There are very few voyages these days that truly earn the superlative "epic." Matt Rutherford, an Annapolis sailor, just delivered one. Non-stop, and solo, around the Americas, via the Northwest Passage and Cape Horn. More than 27,000 miles in 310 days. Incredible.
Rutherford arrived in Annapolis over the weekend, and received a hero's welcome:
“Long time, no see,” Rutherford, 31, said into the mike, with the same familiar combination of awkwardness and comedic timing that those who know him best had missed these last 309 days. He was still barefoot, his toenails brown and gnarled, and thick shocks of dark orange hair spilled out below his hat.
“Being here is like a dream,” he said. “Any minute I’m going to wake up and be in the middle of the ocean.”
It's hard to over-emphasize what a personal achievement Rutherford's voyage represents. Here is is how sees it, from his blog:
When it comes to sailing it’s difficult to say who is the first person to do what because so many people have sailed so many places. In the case of this trip it becomes easier because of the Northwest Passage element. Not that many boats have sailed through the Northwest Passage and every boat that has, is listed on the Polar Scott Institutes’ (Cambridge University) web site along with the number on crew. Out of these boats very few were taken through the Northwest Passage singlehanded and out of those few only a couple boats did it both single handed and non-stop. The very very few that have, did not continue non-stop to Cape Horn and then back to their original starting point. So – long story short I’m the first person in history to have completed a non-stop singlehanded circumnavigation of the Americas.
I knew this trip would be hard for any captain on any sailboat. Although my boat was small and my budget meager it was my unwavering determination and previous sailing experience that got me through. We are all capable of incredible things; all you have to do is believe in yourself.
Yep. (Nice gallery here).