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Capital Gazette – “Red Dot” at Annapolis Film Festival

Capital Gazette – “Red Dot” at Annapolis Film Festival

Red Dot on the Ocean recently screened at the 2015 Annapolis Film Festival to a sold out house in the main auditorium at Maryland Hall. Below is a link to the article from the Capital Gazette newspaper…

What better draw for a film festival in a sailing town than a movie about the world record voyage of Annapolis’ own Matt Rutherford…. The film drew a large crowd Sunday morning in Maryland Hall’s auditorium, one of 70 movies being screened at the third annual Annapolis Film Festival….

'Red Dot" at Annapolis Film Festival

New York City Premiere

New York City Premiere

The premiere, at the Quad Cinema in NYC, was a grand success and lots of fun. (See photos and reviews below.) We are currently talking with distributors and will post here the results of those discussions. To learn where you can see Red Dot on the Ocean in the future, check this website or subscribe via email for updates (see box in right hand column).


“Endlessly engrossing….It’s hard to get more inspirational than the real-life voyage of Matt Rutherford, a former juvenile offender with five prison stints and a couple of learning disabilities who became the first person to solo circumnavigate the Americas nonstop….Documentarian Amy Flannery gives us a feel for the constant pounding of the waves in rough water, juxtaposed with the dangerous beauty of icebergs….You can’t help but be gratified at this eminently nice guy’s amazing accomplishment. ‘We all have a gift,’ he says. ‘We all have a place in this world.’ And he’s clearly seen enough of the world to say that with some authority.”


“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

“It’s an inspiring tale, to be sure, made more so by his eventual triumph that resulted in, among other accolades, SenatorTom Harkin singing his praises before Congress….Rutherford is an engagingly charismatic, charmingly self-deprecating figure, and his amusing running commentary throughout his voyage makes a nice contrast to Robert Redford’s taciturn silence throughout the fictional, similarly-themed All is Lost. His bravery is matched by his generosity—his journey served to raise $120,000 for an organization devoted to teaching sailing to disabled people. His story certainly deserved to be told…”


“A kid who’s spent formative years in an obscure cult, rehab, juvenile detention, and, ultimately, prison, isn’t likely to grow up to solo-navigate around the Americas in a leaky boat. ButMatt Rutherford did, without stopping, and thanks to the documentary Red Dot on the Ocean, we’re privy to his adventures.”

–Daphne Howland, VILLAGE VOICE

“Director Amy Flannery balances the footage of the Rutherford’s voyage with background information about his troubled childhood …. both his childhood and his voyage are compelling….The way that he changed his life 180 degrees after being a street punk feels quite inspirational and poignant. Red Dot on the Ocean does have its fair share of thrills to boot … as Rutherford battles the forces of nature, especially in the rough waters of the North [West] Passage where one tiny error can lead to imminent death.”


“In a word: inspiring….It deserves to become a classic….I found myself on the edge of my seat, my heart racing….”

— Andy Schell, 59-NORTH.COM, contributing editor SAIL magazine

“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

Matt’s Ocean Research Project

Matt’s Ocean Research Project

Be sure to read Andy Schell’s article in the March 2013 issue of Spinsheet. In it, Schell relates how Matt plans to sail his newly acquired 42-foot steel-hulled sailboat into the Atlantic Garbage Patch–a region of the Atlantic between Bermuda and the Azores–where currents and weather patterns create a whirlpool-like mess of modern man’s refuse.

Read more about the project at:

Matt Wins Ocean Cruising Club’s “Jester” Medal

Matt Wins Ocean Cruising Club’s “Jester” Medal
Jester Medal

Front Side

The “Jester” Medal is awarded annually by a committee of the Ocean Cruising Club for an outstanding contribution to the art of single-handed sailing. This award has been given out since 2006. Recipients include  Sir Robin Knox-Johnson, Mervyn Wheatley, Roger Taylor, and Pete Hill.

From the OCC’s press release:
“Matt Rutherford – ‘Saint Brendan’ – sailed singlehanded and non-stop around the Americas in the face of enormous challenges to benefit CRAB (Chesapeake Region Accessible Boating).
This adventure begins from Annapolis in June of 2011 and is 27,000 nautical miles in total. Arrival at the Northwest passage will be in early August which is only open for six weeks.

Reverse Side

Reverse Side

After exiting the Passage, Matt heads for Cape Horn, rounding it by March 1 2012. Then heading north up the east coast of the America’s heading home for Chesapeake Bay, passing the Caribbean before hurricane season. At 80 miles a day, it will take roughly 10 1/2 months… all of this adventure NON-STOP!”

Read about Blondie Hasler and his boat, Jester, at:

Congratulations, Matt!

Matt Rutherford in Sept 2012 Spinsheet Magazine

Matt Rutherford in Sept 2012 Spinsheet Magazine

Matt Rutherford’s Return to the Arctic

Andy Schell gives us a prelude to Matt’s plans for returning to the Arctic in the September issue of Spinsheet Magazine, the Chesapeake Bay area sailing mag. (You can read it online.) We learn about Matt’s new non-profit, Ocean Research Project, and his plans to continue the tradition of scientific research under sail.

“Matt’s passion for philanthropy will again be at the heart of the voyage…”

Matt hopes to launch the first expedition as early as Spring 2013.

Matt Rutherford in Sept/Oct 2012 Good Old Boat Magazine

Matt Rutherford in Sept/Oct 2012 Good Old Boat Magazine
Steve Allan's article about Matt Rutherford and his solo, non-stop circumnavigation of the Americas.

Matt Rutherford in Good Old Boat Magazine Sept 2012

Check out Steve Allan’s excellent Sailor Profile article, “A Sailor, a boat, and a quest: Matt Rutherford’s most excellent vertical circumnavigation” on page 43 of the Sept/Oct 2012 issue of Good Old Boat Magazine. Steve’s story and Andy Schell’s article in the Sept 2012 issue of SAIL  Magazine compliment each other nicely. You’ll learn new information from both.

The last three weeks were the worst–colc air, boarding seas, and stubborn winds on the nose.
… It must be said that Matt had himself a particularly solid little boat in St. Brendan. Vegas are cherished by their owners, the more fanatical among them saying they wouldn’t trust any other boat at sea.

Click here for more information about the Albin Vega

Matt Rutherford in Sept’12 SAIL Magazine

Matt Rutherford in Sept’12 SAIL Magazine

Be sure to catch the feature article on page 46 in the September 2012 issue of SAIL Magazine by Andy Schell, “Mission Accomplished: Matt Rutherford is a better sailor than you are,” about Matt Rutherford and his record-breaking, solo, non-stop circumnavigation of the Americas. Here are a few quotes to wet your appetite…

Andy Schell's article about Matt Rutherford's solo, non-stop circumnavigation of the Americas

SAIL Magazine Sept 2012 – Matt Rutherford Article

But Matt wasn’t a better sailor than anyone when he bought his first boat. In fact, he’d hardly ever been out on the water.”
— Andy Schell

Before you leave the dock, you need to accept the fact that you might not come back.” — Matt Rutherford

Near 75 degrees north, as he approached Lancaster Sound, the entrance to the Northwest Passage just west of Greenland, Matt was getting tossed about, trying to dodge icebergs while fighting off sleep deprivation.” — Andy Schell

I looked up out the window, and out of the corner of my eye I noticed this giant white wall outside my window.”
— Matt Rutherrford