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Pushing The Limits: Solo-Sailing The Americas

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On June 11, 2011, Matt Rutherford set sail from Annapolis, Md. on an epic voyage. He traveled down the Chesapeake Bay, up the East Coast, then through the fabled Northwest passage, down the Pacific, around Cape Horn, back up the coast of South America, and all the way back home.

In ten months, he sailed over 27,000 miles in a 27-foot sailboat — named the St. Brendan after the 6th-century explorer — and became the first person to complete a solo, nonstop circumnavigation of the Americas.

Rutherford, a 31-year-old Maryland resident, fought strong winds and rain, and improvised tools as his equipment repeatedly failed.

The trip raised thousands of dollars for the Chesapeake Region Accessible Boating, a program for that offers sailing opportunities to persons with disabilities.

Rutherford, who completed the trip in April, talks with NPR's Neal Conan about the challenges of the journey and what he learned from the spending more than 300 days alone at sea.

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