Search Underway For Renowned Baltimore Sailor Lost At Sea During Solo Voyage


Donald Lawson's ORMA 60 trimaran, the 'Defiant.' (Credit: Captain Donald Lawson/ Facebook)

Update: Tuesday (2:30 p.m.) - The Baltimore Banner reports that the Mexican Navy has sighted Donald Lawson's sailboat.

According to the Banner, the boat, a 60-foot trimaran called Defiant, was found capsized 275 nautical miles off the coast of Acapulco. Due to the ongoing hurricane season, rescue crews have been unable to approach the vessel.

BALTIMORE COUNTY - Donald Lawson, a Baltimore area sailor, and Woodlawn High School graduate, is currently lost at sea, according to the U.S. Coast Guard.

The Coast Guard stated that Lawson embarked on a journey from Acapulco, Mexico, heading towards Panama on July 5.

The Bay Bulletin reports that on July 9, Lawson informed his wife that he had encountered complications with his hydraulic rigging. This issue compelled him to depend exclusively on a wind generator as he was without engine power.

His last correspondence with her was on July 12, when he communicated that a storm had cost him his wind generator.

Mexican maritime authorities are spearheading the search and rescue operations. An alert for rescue was sent out on Saturday by the Coast Guard, calling upon nearby ships to keep a lookout for Lawson and his vessel.

Lawson is an experienced sailor, having taught sailing lessons in Baltimore and at the U.S. Naval Academy. He had plans to embark on a global trip in the upcoming fall, intending to break the record for the world's fastest solo, nonstop circumnavigation in a boat less than 60 feet in length, which currently stands at 74 days.

He is widely recognized for his attempts to smash sailing records using his ORMA 60 trimaran, the 'Defiant.' This vessel has the potential to achieve speeds of up to 42 knots (48 miles per hour).

When asked about the risks of long-distance solo sailing in a 2022 interview with the Baltimore Sun, Lawson said he was "concerned but not scared."

"If I see a storm approaching during my journey, I'm swift enough to circumvent it," Lawson said.

The Baltimore Sun reports that at the time of the interview, the Defiant was outfitted with survival essentials such as two life rafts, a position beacon, multiple radios, and a survival suit.

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