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Red Dot on the Ocean: The Matthew Rutherford Story Previous Broadcasts

KQED Plus: Wed, Sep 20, 2017 -- 12:00 AM

Once labeled a "youth-at-risk," 30-year-old Matt Rutherford risked it all in an attempt to become the first person to sail alone, and nonstop around North and South America. This documentary tells the story of Matt's death-defying voyage and the childhood odyssey that shaped him.
Matt Rutherford's childhood was fraught with obstacles. He grew up in an obscure Christian cult, struggled with ADHD and learning disabilities, went to drug rehab at the age of 13, and lived on the streets and in juvenile detention. While attending a special high school, Matt discovered that he actually liked to learn and developed a passion to see the world.
After graduating, Matt taught himself how to sail. He crossed the Atlantic alone to Europe, sailed south to Africa, and then came back across the Atlantic. Along the way he read about Ernest Shackleton and other Arctic explorers, and became obsessed with sailing the Northwest Passage - the once impassable ice-clogged waterway that links the North Atlantic and the Pacific.
In June 2011, Matt departed Annapolis, Md., on an old, scrappy 27-foot sailboat. He spent the next 309 days alone at sea braving the icebergs of the Arctic and the treacherous waters of Cape Horn off the coast of southern Chile. Before he embarked on his solo voyage, professional sailors called him crazy and declared his proposed 27,000-mile journey "a suicide mission." But Rutherford proved them wrong. He brought back remarkable video footage as seen in the film and audio logs, raised $120,000 for charity, and entered the record books.

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