SWAN 48 SALVAGE ATTEMPT: Matt Rutherford Almost Got Ripped Off! (IMHO)

24 Jul

S/V Ault

I have to say, I really dig Matt Rutherford’s new ride (pictured above). It looks to be a Colvin Gazelle, a boat I’ve always admired, but with an unstayed cat ketch rig. Very interesting. But that’s not what we need to discuss right now. You may have noticed, per a recent post by my SAILfeed compadre Andy Schell, that Matt, who has been voyaging about the middle of the Atlantic as part of his new Ocean Research Project, recently came across and actually tried to salvage that Swan 48, Wolfhound, that I have written so much about recently.

I urge you to carefully study the full account, either in Andy’s post, or on Matt’s site, of everything Matt did in trying to tow Wolfhound over 700 miles to Bermuda. It gives you a very good sense of the incredible determination and tenacity that enabled him to sail singlehanded non-stop around North and South America in a tiny little Albin Vega. You should note in particular that during the attempt Matt lost one of his own house batteries overboard (it almost dragged him down to the bottom along with it) and rendered his own engine inoperable.

Matt Rutherford

Matt Rutherford, of Around the Americas fame, aboard his new boat Ault

Swan 48 Wolfhound

Wolfhound, ex-Bella Luna, the abandoned boat in question. Matt literally risked his own life and property, including his boat, in trying to salvage her

What raised my eyebrows when I studied Matt’s account was the understanding he had with the boat’s owner. On finding the boat, instead of stripping it of useful gear, Matt did the right thing and sat-phoned the owner, who offered to pay him $45,000 if he could get the boat to Bermuda. Which may seem like a lot (it obviously did to Matt, who can definitely use the money), BUT I would argue it is a very lowball figure and that Matt  would have been entitled to much more had he been successful.

Matt, my man, if you are reading this, please follow this link here to my recent post on salvage law.

Next time you find a boat worth maybe a quarter of a million dollars floating around 700 miles from nowhere, your operating assumption should be that the job of rescuing it is worth all or most of its value.

PS: For those who are just coming into this soap opera, here’s an index of Wolfhound-related posts.

Introducing Wolfhound: First sighting and the circumstances of her abandonment

Evaluating Wolfhound: Swan 48 background and boat review with valuations

Wolfhound‘s past: Her previous career and a delivery from hell

Sailing a Swan 48: Your host remembers a delivery he made aboard a sistership

Wolfhound reappears: Second sighting

Salvaging Wolfhound for profit: The ins and outs of salvage law


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