Doubling the Horn (day 218, 19,446 miles)

I’ve now doubled the Horn, which means I sailed from 50 south to 50 south non-stop. Back 100 years ago it was common practice, but these days boats usually stop along the way and round the horn in a series of steps from safe anchorage to safe anchorage (understandably so). I spent 22 days in the furious fifties and I had a good time. I had four gales in a row before the Horn but the weather has been nice ever since. That gale I saw coming decreased in strength and it only blew 30kts and the one behind it did the same thing. I love the temperature down here; it’s around 55 degrees which is great for me. At night it gets a bit colder and I can feel it when I breathe, all wrapped up in my warm sleeping bag. What can I say, I’m a Celt. My ancestors didn’t live in warm sunny places. I’ve been spoiling myself by making blueberry pancakes every morning (thanks to self-reliance) along with a cup of coffee. I’ll tell you, life is pretty good!

St. Brendan has become some kind of beacon for the birds. It’s common to see birds offshore but they usually don’t follow you. I’ve had at least a dozen birds circling my boat for the last week, 24/7. There seems to be four different species, one of which chirps all the time. As I get further from land I also see the Wandering Albatross which are the biggest and I would assume the oldest of the lot. It’s nice to have friends, although they are not much for conversation. I’ve also been growing a colony on tube barnacles on my stern since the mid Pacific. It’s kind of like having an ant farm except they don’t move around much. It’s nice to be around anything that’s living.

My water maker broke a few days ago. I was able to take parts off my old broken water maker and fix the other one. Within a few hours it was back in working condition. I’ve also had 2 out of 3 of my GPS units break. I took all my GPS units off my Pearson 323 along with my windvane and my wind generator. We couldn’t raise enough money to buy new equipment so a bunch of my equipment was heavily used before I left Annapolis. Sometimes you just have to make do with what you got. One of my GPS units had over 35,000 miles on its odometer before it died so at least I got my money’s worth. The one working chart plotter (Raymairne C70) is in good shape and I think it will hold up until I get back. My AIS is also broken (which sucks) and I don’t think my VHF is working anymore. They have different antennas so that’s not the issue. My wind generator stopped working a few days ago but all it needed was some new wiring. The nice thing about doing all the work on a boat your self is, when things break at least you have a chance of fixing them. I know every wire and bolt on this boat. The real kicker is my bulkhead that supports and takes the load of my deck stepped mast. The bulkhead itself is fine but for some reason it’s pushing its self slowly up through the deck just starboard of the mast. You can see its imprint on the deck. This has been slowly getting worse over the last 8,000 miles and although it sounds bad I don’t think it will rip itself up through the deck. If it does I’ll patch it up with scrap wood and resin and carry on. Generally speaking more things have broken that have kept working but I don’t let it bother me. The good news is my monitor windvane is still steering like a champ. All in all I’ve put over 40,000 miles on that windvane over various trips (I love my windvane). My PredictWind satellite communicator is still giving me weather report and allowing me to send these web site updates, so all the important things are working fine. There’s no reason to rush on back to Annapolis. I’m going to baby the boat and I’ll get back when I get back. I like it out here, why would I want to return to land?

20 thoughts on “Doubling the Horn (day 218, 19,446 miles)”

  1. super update and pics!!! “there is no man happier or freer than i am today”. carry on, INDEED!!!

  2. Yes Matt, You will enjoy this.

    “I’ve always wanted to sail to the South Seas, but I can’t afford it.” What these men can’t afford is not to go. They are enmeshed in the cancerous discipline of “security.” And in the worship of security we fling our lives beneath the wheels of routine – and before we know it our lives are gone.

    What does a man need – really need? A few pounds of food each day, heat and shelter, six feet to lie down in – and some form of working activity that will yield a sense of accomplishment. That’s all – in the material sense. And we know it. But we are brainwashed by our economic system until we end up in a tomb beneath a pyramid of time payments, mortgages, preposterous gadgetry, playthings that divert our attention from the sheer idiocy of the charade.

    The years thunder by. The dreams of youth grow dim where they lie caked in dust on the shelves of patience. Before we know it the tomb is sealed.
    Where, then, lies the answer? In choice. Which shall it be: bankruptcy of purse or bankruptcy of life?
    Sterling Hayden

    Sail on Mate and enjoy your life as you have come to know it, the harbor lights are not very far away.

    1. Brilliant stuff, Ron Matt is “alive” in the fullest sense.

      “A boat is freedom, not just a way to reach a goal”
      Bernard Moitessier, “A Sea Vagabond’s World”

      Go Matt!


  3. Matt your sounding great like a big weight is off your sholders getting clear of the Horn. Keep the boat together and talk to the birds even though they can only squalk.

  4. Hi Matt:
    What a great thing you are doing. I was interested if one of your support friends could post a list and quantity of food you took with you. Also a list of equipment on the boat. I ask this because I became curious as you detail your equipment failures and successes.

  5. Well done mate. I have just purchased an Albin Vega today(Albion hull 3319) and I am busy with my yacht masters prep. I am interested in going further and would be interested to hear from you on the steps you took to get where you are now. I would like to cross the Atlantic and then who knows. Any information on fitting out or preparation would be of interest to me. Sometimes the hardest part of a trip like you’re is when the cruxes is done the peek is bagged the spectacular becomes a journey back to the mundane and mediocrity. However, all that has value it is normally the time and genesis of new and more wonderful ideas. Good luck sincerely John

  6. Congrats, Matt, on your double crossing of the 50’s latitudes, and, of course, Cape Horn.

    Will you be wearing a gold earring on your left ear? I’ve been told that sailors who pass the Horn from west to east are privileged to wear a gold hoop earring on the side that faced the Horn.

    Your current speed is impressive as you continue to sail as fast as your boat will go. You’re giving the birds trailing you a run for their crumbs! Now, be like the swallow and head home.

  7. Matt:

    I certainly hope all is well. Was worried because you are going way “off”. Ugrib shows light winds but not enough to warrant you going so far off.

    Wishing you the best. Stronger winds are coming.

  8. Hey; that old Albin Vega has done good with you. What a trip for her after only getting from Whitehall Creek to Annapolis and the north span of the Bay Bridge with Lee Wieland and me in the five years we owned the then “Mamie” Albin Vega after purchasing her from C.R.A.B. and then donating her back to C.R.A.B. for your inspiring voyage. Captain Gordon Hempton of the Coastguard–the previous owner of Mamie for more than thirty years must be looking down from above, envying you, and wishing you Godspeed as you head home to Annapolis.

  9. Congratulations Matt! We have been following your journey, albeit a bit silent for a while. Eli and I moved back to Fort Collins recently, and life has been a bit hectic getting resettled. I left my post in Bollywood, CO – aka: Boulder. You have inspired me to become more adventurous with my life. I am doing my damned best not to rejoin the 9-5 world.

    We are with you as you journey back to Annapolis.

    Much peace and love,

  10. You probably will not read this until your triumphant return. As such, do not forget to come up to 4B and get that promised drink and cigar. Oh yeah, I have the book that explains why you have been learning so much through your “meditation” on this grand adventure. You have been avoiding the constant turmoil of the mind we encounter in a daily life on shore. This makes you better in every way as you experience your inner strength and peace that most of us do not have time to look for, much less find. Sail on!

  11. Matt
    I have been following your trip since I read it in the Washington Post. What a great thing you are doing for charity. What a adventure you are on,, solo sailing aroung the America s. Your posting are great reading.

    Be safe and God speed!!!

    Rockymount,North Carolina

  12. Dear Captain Rutherford,

    I am a student in your mother’s class at River Ridge Elementary. I am amazed by your courage to take a solo adventure around the world in such a small sailboat. Mrs. Macintyre always talks about you and the phone calls she recieves from you, and we also eagerly track your progress. I hope that after you arrive in Annapolis, you can come visit our 5th grade class and tell us about your encounters on your journey. My brothers and I appreciate your contribution to C.R.A.B, as we love to help others. I hope the closing of your trip is wonderful, and you can be around your friends and family when you come back (after you rest and enjoy yourself of course).

    Best wishes,
    Lauryn McCosky, 5th grader at River Ridge Elementary in Austin, Texas

    “The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.”
    -Zephaniah 3:17

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