Friday Column: Matt Rutherford around the Horn

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I was going to write this morning about my first week back in Sweden. About arriving on the 5th anniversary of Mia and I first meeting in New Zealand (December 28, 2006). About her surprising me at the airport and taking me to dinner at our favorite Greek restaurant 'Tzatziki' in Uppsala. About staying in Cicci's apartment for the night so we could drink some wine with dinner. About meeting Clint the next night at Skavsta, the airport he was not supposed to fly to because it is two hours from the house in Dunderbo, but did anyway, and at eleven o'clock at night. About taking the ferry to Åland, the Finnish island where Johanna lives and where my sister got too drunk on snaps in 2008 when we last went there for New Year's Eve. About taking a real Finnish sauna in Johannas house after running my fastest-ever 10k on New Year's Eve (40:42). About Dunderbo and the sled dogs next door. About the goose I have in the oven this morning for the 'American' Christmas dinner we are cooking today with Mia's family.

But I won't write about any of that today, because Matt Rutherford has just rounded Cape Horn.

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Matt and I met a few years ago when he first got back from his single-handed double Transatlantic. His Pearson 323 took him north towards Canada and across the Atlantic via the Great Circle Route (the same route we took in 2011). He was headed for Iceland then, but got blown south in six gales during that crossing and ended up in the UK instead. He left his boat in Amsterdam, returned home to help fix old Alfa Romeos at a friends place in Texas, then returned to the boat flush with cash and went 200 miles up the Gambia River in Africa. Only then did he set out back across the Atlantic, sailing again alone to the Caribbean and eventually north to Annapolis (with a few yacht deliveries in between), where upon his arrival in the harbor, he dinghied over to Mia and I - we were anchored on my dad's

Sojouner -

and had a few beers and some dinner with us. He was already talking about the NW Passage and Cape Horn even then.

Now, a few years later, and he's there, literally, only 25 miles east of the famous landmark at the bottom of the world where "all bluewater sailors dream of going," according to the web post he wrote this morning. Mia and I have been downloading GRIB files the last few days as he got closer, and following his track almost hourly as he made his southing and easting. My

Yachting World

 update on him was due this morning, perfect timing. He is headed towards home, the first time he's been able to say that in the 208 days since he left Annapolis last June. From his website:

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"Originally when I left Annapolis I estimated that I would round the Horn on January 16th so I’m 11 days ahead of schedule. I’m also only 1,000 miles from South Georgia (Island). How tempting is that? In 10 days from now I could be on South Georgia, standing next to Shackleton's grave toasting “the boss” with my last glass of whiskey. It’s a nice idea but I’ve come too far to stop now. Now I can start thinking about my ultimate destination, the finish line at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay and my first landfall in Annapolis."

So Matt, this Friday is for you buddy. I'll have some goose in your honor and perhaps even a slug of whiskey this evening, dreaming about going round the Horn on my own. 

To read more about Matt, check out

solotheamericas.org

. On the

'Press'

page you'll find four

Spinsheet

 articles I wrote about him, some about his previous Atlantic crossings. Donate to CRAB there as well if you want to support him. Cheers mate.

It’s round Cape Horn we all must go, Bring ‘em down;

Arms all stiff to the ice and snow, Bring ‘em down;

Oh, rock and roll me over boys, Bring ‘em down;

And get this damn job over boys, Bring ‘em down.

FORTITUDINE VINCIMUS