Resupply Mission

Solo-sailor Matt Rutherford is out of juice—the electrical kind—and help is needed for him to finish his incredible voyage.

February 28, 2012

Matt Rutherford

Here is the latest update about Matt Rutherford, the inspiring solo sailor who is on the final leg of his voyage around the Americas:

_Unfortunately it looks all the equipment breakdowns that Matt has been dealing with will require a special resupply mission. Matt is almost without any way to generate power right now, and the methods that he does have won’t last the whole way home.

Simon Edwards is currently planning a resupply out of Recife, Brazil, scheduled within a week or so. If you have any ability to help out Matt with a small donation for the new parts it would be very much appreciated. If you can, please click the Donate to CRAB button on his website and contribute what you can – every little bit helps!
Thank you!


Matt’s most recent blog update:
It’s come to my attention that not everyone knows there is a tracking device on the web site. I don’t have internet access and so I’ve never seen my own web site but somewhere on the top of the home page you can click and you will see my exact position, speed, lat and long, ect. It’s been a busy and somewhat frustrating week. I had light easterly winds for some time and although I wasn’t moving too quickly I was heading in the right direction and all in all it was pleasant. It was about as easy and comfortable as life at sea can get. Unfortunately other problems arose.

When you are at home you can plug in a laptop or some other appliance without having to worry about how much power it uses. You have nearly infinite power being piped into your home (hence your electric bill). At sea I have to generate my own power in order to run my computer, GPS, or anything for that matter. Since I lost all solar panels back by the equator in the Pacific it has been a challenge to keep enough power in my batteries. I had one advantage – I had saved fuel so in a pinch I could run my engine in idle to charge my batteries. I didn’t have enough fuel to use my engine for propulsion but I could still (once in a while) give my batteries a good charge. I still have about 5 gallons of diesel set aside for this purpose but it seems that my starter is dead. I can’t start my engine without a starter. I tried to start it manually but I have found it to be quite impossible as I don’t have a crank handle and my jury rigged handle couldn’t take the load and broke.

Now I’m down to just my old wind generator for power. I spent 3 full days converting a human powered generator into a hydro generator. It was quite the task. My hack saw is broken so I had to make many cuts through metal holding the flimsy rusty blade in my hand slowly sawing away hour after hour. I felt like a cartoon character trying to break out of jail using a nail file. I built a paddle wheel out of an old boat hook a broken piece of whisker pole some starboard. It looks cool but it is high maintenance and I don’t have much faith in it lasting very long. The chain that runs from the paddle wheel to the alternator keeps falling off, so I have to mess with it every half hour or so. I hope I can keep it running as it puts off about an amp. That doesn’t sound like much, but it adds up over time and at this point anything helps. My old wind generator has been binding up a bit since Cape Horn and I’ve been spraying it with WD-40 which helps but I ran out of WD 40 last night.


If the wind generator dies I’m going to be in serious trouble – all I can do is cross my fingers. What all this means is I won’t be able to write the web entries as often now that I barely have any power. I’m only going to turn on my computer once a week to try to save power but that mean I’ll only be able to get a weather report once a week. Now that I’m in the easterlies it’s not a big deal, I know the weather will blow between 10 and 25 knots out of an easterly direction every day for the next month. I’ll need to know the weather more frequently when I get near Cape Hatteras and the Gulf Stream but I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it. If I get good wind I’ll have more power which means more web updates but if I have light winds then you won’t be hearing from me much because I won’t have enough power to charge my laptop.

Once again most of my inverters have broken so I’m down to just one. If that breaks I won’t be able to charge anything anyways so a lack of power wouldn’t really matter. We’ll just have to wait and see what happens.
Two out of my three water makers have broken and the last one was giving me some problems. I was able to lube it up with some olive oil (an oil based lubricant would have damaged the membrane) and it seems to be working better but if that were to brake … well I don’t even want to think about that.

I’ve lost my Bernard Moitessier mindset – thinking of sailing endlessly in an oceanic utopia. It’s been replaced by a much more realistic idea that I need to get back to land before this whole boat falls apart. I’m riding close to the edge and it wouldn’t take much for me to go over. I think structurally the boat is fine. I hope. Although I was on a port tack for so many miles that my bulkheads had shifted and settled to that load. Now that I’m on a starboard tack my bulkheads are slowly readjusting and periodically make a terrible noise. Sometimes the cracking sound is so loud that I would swear that a bulkhead had just cracked in half. The sound that wood can make when it’s in agony is incredible. So ya, I need to get my butt up to the bay before my whole world falls apart.


To see Matt’s position and to read the rest of his blog or donate to Chesapeake Regional Acessible Boating, visit


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