Documentary: Red Dot on the Ocean

Published on October 21st, 2014

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.

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.

The feature-length documentary film, 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 is partnering with documentary producer/director, Amy Flannery and producer, Stephanie Slewka to create this feature-length documentary. Red Dot on the Ocean is now under consideration for broadcast by PBS and other outlets in the U.S and internationally.

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