top of page - Changing Ocean Research

Updated: Feb 3, 2021

There are people in the world that talk a lot of s#!t. They say they want to do this, or that they have plans to do that. But rarely do they do what they say they will do, at least when it comes down to big goals. Matt Rutherford, from what I can tell, is not that person. So when he says he is going to change the way Ocean Research is done... he's going to do it or die trying.

Matt Rutherford once sailed non-stop single-handed from Annapolis MD, through the Northwest Passage, down the west coast, around the tip of South America via Cape Horn, and back to Annapolis. And, oh, did I mention he was the first person to ever do it?

I've never personally met Matt Rutherford but I have learned a lot about the man via his podcast "single-handed sailing" as well as his many interviews with Andy Schell on 59-North "On The Wind" podcast.

Matts podcast is a very different type of podcast. Matt speaks directly to his audience as if he is speaking to a close friend; raw, unfiltered, and honest. He also provides a vast amount of knowledge about sailing, boats, and a million other off-hand topics. But listening to Matt, for the right audience, endears you to Matt.

When he left for the journey around the America's, as Matt tells it in his podcast "single-handed sailing", there were many people that said he was crazy, that he wouldn't make it. But when he got back to Annapolis, many people came out of the wood-work to cheer his accomplishment. So with his new-found notoriety Matt began his next big mission, to start a non-profit. He teamed up with scientist Nicole Trenholm and got to work.

Their mission as it states on their website is: "to Actively Monitor Humanity’s Impact on the Ocean through dedicated Interdisciplinary Science Field Campaigns."

They have had successful expeditions, collected vast amounts of data, and published serious scientific papers. I don't want to copy too much from their site for this article, so please go to their site and read about their work. What truly intrigues me, and what I see as the big game changer about that mission, is the opportunity to prove to the scientific community and the world that sailboats are not only viable research vessels, but that they make a lot more sense. They are cheaper to operate by a large factor (think roughly $3,000 per day vs. $25,000 per day) and because of that more scientific research can be done.

Cheaper and more efficient execution of ocean research = more ocean research. Our planet is under stress. It's not only the right thing to do, ORP is proving that it can be done.

So if you find yourself with a few extra dollars and want to help a VERY important cause, head over to and donate what you can. I have personally listened to every episode of Matt Rutherfords single-handed podcast and have learned a lot about the mission of ORP and the pure tenacity and dedication that Matt and Nicole have to achieve yet another HUGE goal. And Matt doesn't talk s#!t. Matt does it. And our planet will be just a bit better for it.


Mike D. is the founder of Sail Junky Magazine. Striving to find more purpose in life, Mike writes and shares about his journey to rediscover his passion for living a fulfilled life, especially through the medium of sailing.

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