Solo sailor rounds Cape Horn in last leg of voyage

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Matt Rutherford, a 30-year-old Maryland resident, is set to round Cape Horn in the final leg of a 300-day odyssey circumnavigating North and South America in a 27-foot sailboat. When finished, Rutherford will be the first person to do the 25,000-mile voyage alone and without stopping.

His motivation for the trip is to show people, particularly those with disabilities, that there are no limits to what can be accomplished in life, and raise money for Chesapeake Region Accessible Boating, a non-profit sailing program for people with disabilities based in Annapolis, Md.

“In sailing terms, ‘Rounding the Horn’ is the most difficult left-hand turn a sailor can make and taking that turn single-handedly is nothing short of remarkable,” US Sailing president Gary Jobson said. “Matt’s journey in a 40-year old, 27-foot sailboat through treacherous, deep ocean waters, completely alone for 300 days, is one for the record books. He is truly proving that there are no limits to what a person can do.”

During the first leg of his trek, Rutherford broke a record by singlehandedly sailing the smallest boat in history through the Northwest Passage, which is a small water route from the Atlantic to the Pacific along the northern coast of Alaska.

Before even reaching the Northwest Passage, he dodged icebergs the size of office buildings, was hammered by severe storms, and suffered the loss of several pieces of failed equipment. His left turn through Cape Horn at the southernmost point of South America, notorious for its storms and heavy seas, is predicted to be bookended by gale storms – one just before and after the turn. Then he faces several more rounds of dangerous winds before he reaches smooth sailing up the Atlantic.

To track Rutherford’s progress, map his course and read his ongoing blog about the trip, visit http://www.solotheamericas.org/.

To learn more about Chesapeake Region Accessible Boating, visit www.crab-sailing.org.