BY MATT RUTHERFORD
When I look back at my logbook and
relive this dramatic day, I remember it as one
of the most thrilling experiences of my life.
Times when you must give your full focus
A ROCKY ROAD BEGINS
and all your strength to surviving at sea are
hair-raising. They also become addictive, to
be honest, making you feel more alive than
can be imagined. When the weather clears,
though, and you’re just alone on a boat on
a more welcoming ocean, there’s no escap-
ing your memories. For me, on those days, I
mostly tried to think of good times. Focusing
on the positive stopped my mind from drift-
ing back to harder times that could still feel
consuming. Alone at sea, you can’t run away
I spent the first nine years of my life in Ohio,
in a cult called Truth Fellowship, created and
led by a woman my parents revered, named
Dorothea. If you grow up with everyone
around you believing in a particular philoso-
phy, you accept it. At least you do as a child.
My sister and I grew up believing with all our
hearts that Dorothea was a prophet. Finally,
in 1990, my parents grew disillusioned, and
just before my 10th birthday, we left Truth
Fellowship. The other followers shunned us.
I was no longer allowed to see my only child-
hood friend. Turns out Dorothea was also the
glue that had held my parents together, and
they eventually divorced.
Plagued with learning disabilities, I was
the last kid in class to learn how to tie my
shoes, didn’t know left from right, and didn’t
read until the fifth grade. Hyperactive, I
couldn’t sit still. Teachers didn’t know what
to do with me. I’d been on large amounts
of Ritalin for attention-deficit disorder since
I was 8, and suffered side effects – in particular, involuntary twitching movements.
Far left: A calmer day
during the odyssey around
Top to bottom: Separating
the man from the boy, Matt
Rutherford prepares to
round Cape Horn.
The author as a young boy
poses beside an old prop
and rudder, unaware that
boats would play such a
pivotal role in his future.
Icebergs near the