Founder and Executive Director
Matt Rutherford is the first person in history to complete a non-stop, single-handed, voyage around North and South America. Rutherford left Annapolis, MD on June 2011 and traversed some of the most dangerous seas on Earth. During the first leg of his trek, Rutherford broke a record by singlehandedly sailing the smallest boat in history through the Northwest Passage. Once through this northern passage, Rutherford sailed around the entire state of Alaska then south through the Pacific Ocean from North to South America to make his left-hand turn at storm-tossed Cape Horn and completing his record breaking journey in 309 days after sailing 27,077 miles at sea. www.solotheamericas.org
Once Matt returned from his circumnavigation he immediately started working on starting a non-profit organization that would help scientists better understand the problems facing our oceans. Matt believes that no one person can do everything but everyone can do something. By creating Ocean Research Project, Matt plans to educate people about marine issues and give back to our earths oceans.
Program Director and Field Operations Scientist
Since January 2013, Nicole Trenholm joined Matt in developing Ocean Research Project’s Program. Nicole coordinated and led the scientific objectives of the Summer 2013 first Ocean Research Project offshore 80 day expedition R/V AULT in the North Atlantic Sargasso Gyre collecting marine plastics debris and led a Chesapeake Bay habitat restoration study in Fall of 2013. Nicole is a 100 ton USCG Nearshore licensed Captain.
Formerly a dedicated National Oceanographic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) affiliate primarily acting as a hydrographer and mate to the research and development platform, The R/V Bay Hydro II located in the Chesapeake Bay. She acted as a NOAA responder deployed to severe weather impacted US coastal marine territories participating in three emergency response surveys including Hurricane Sandy and Irene responses that permitted the Hampton Roads US Coast Guard Captain of the Port to reopen critical waterways.
Her love for sailing and the marine community came rapidly after obtaining a Geology degree at Philadelphia’s LaSalle University and acting as a visiting deckhand and environmental educator to Tall Ship Schooners A. J. Meerwald and Virginia. Nicole is dedicated to contributing to the marine science community and providing open source information that can be used for multiple interpretations that lead to understanding the ocean condition and how we can sustain mankind’s symbiotic relationship.