“Red Dot on the Ocean portrays the story as triumph over adversity and wayward youth….we learn that he spent part of his childhood in a cult and struggled with ADHD. That condition may have led him to — and helped him thrive in–the adrenaline highs of sailing…. plays like an upbeat, real-life “All Is Lost,” as Mr. Rutherford, with relatively simple sailing equipment, contends with setbacks and the elements.”
— By Ben Kenigsberg, NEW YORK TIMES
“This is a remarkable film, one of the best sailing documentaries ever produced…. What makes this story so engrossing, though, is that the sailing part is only half the tale…. Matt’s childhood was a nightmare, a brutal combination of drugs, cults, depression, learning disabilities and, ultimately, prison. And his difficult, winding path from troubled kid to bold adventurer and record-setting sailor is truly an inspirational tale that this terrific documentary captures well. Highly recommended…”
— Herb McCormick, Senior Editor, CRUISING WORLD MAGAZINE
Once labeled a “youth-at-risk,” Matt Rutherford risks it all in a death-defying attempt to be the first person to sail alone and nonstop around North and South America. Professional sailors called him crazy and declared the journey “a suicide mission.” Braving the icebergs of the Arctic and the stormy seas of Cape Horn is no easy feat for any sailor.Heading North
This is no ordinary tale of courage and endurance. Matt’s childhood was fraught with obstacles. Growing up in an obscure Christian cult, he struggled with learning disabilities that made life excruciating at home and at school. Matt spent more of his early teens on the streets than in school.
Sitting in a jail cell at 17, he had an epiphany and began to turn his life around. Rutherford bought his first sailboat sight unseen on the Internet and learned to sail on the fly. Four years later, he embarked on a single-handed voyage from the USA to Europe, West Africa and back across the Atlantic to the Caribbean. He had found his calling.
After reading about Ernest Shackleton and Arctic explorers, Matt became obsessed with sailing alone through the Northwest Passage – the mostly ice-clogged route through the Arctic linking the Atlantic to the Pacific. That obsession became a 27,000 mile quest to be the first sailor to circumnavigate the Americas alone without stopping.
Red Dot on the Ocean is full of surprises. It is beyond inspiring, a film that makes us all feel we can do and endure more than we imagine.
Tory Salvia of TheSailingChannel has partnered with documentary producer/director, Amy Flannery and producer, Stephanie Slewka to create this feature-length documentary. A one-hour version of Red Dot on the Ocean has been accepted for broadcast by PBS starting in spring 2016. It will also be distributed internationally. The 77-minute theatrical digital version will be distributed through the major digital platforms: Amazon, Hulu, Netflix, and iTunes; and a Blu-Ray/DVD through major retailers, educators, and libraries.