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Donald Lang and ‘Ishi’ Return to Port Safely After 348 Days at Sea

After the Coast Guard issued a BOLO in March for Ishi and Donald Lang, the 55-ft sailboat and her captain have checked in — apparently in the Hawaiian Islands — and are safe and sound. In fact, Don Lang’s cup seems to be overflowing.

“Just arrived 348 days non stop; about 16,000 miles,” Lang wrote on TikTok. After we shared the Coast Guard’s concerns about Ishi and published a ‘Lectronic Latitude in March where some readers weren’t shy to comment from their armchairs about the apparent condition of Ishi — including wondering if she had a list — Lang himself commented on that story three days ago:

“Thanks for the heartfelt concern. I was fine, and everyone knew I packed for a year offshore. And they knew not to worry unless a year’s gone by. I love it at sea and it’s where I like to be.”

On TikTok, Lang was a bit more pointed: “Who’s the asshole that reported me missing? Can’t an old salt get some peace and quiet?”

Captain Donald Lang and the sloop Ishi.
© 2023 USCG

Continuing Lang’s comments on this website, “In regards to the listing comments: Experienced sailors should have known by the shape of the sail she was in the middle of a heavy-swell-induced roll in light air while leaving the channel,” Lang said, referring to the photo above. “The first picture taken at the same departure should have also clued you into that … no list,” Lang added, referring to the photo below.

Ishi appears to sit squarely on her waterline as she departs Hawaii last year.
© 2023 USCG

Ishi is a working girl and not a dock queen, so yes she may not look like a shiny new penny, but she is solid and struts through the gales. She just completed a non-stop voyage, and it was magnificent,” Lang said.

Here’s a sampling of some of the unsolicited concerns and skepticism about Ishi:

“That boat is not something I would put up against the Pacific or any other ocean.” “Looks like it needed a bottom job. The whole boat looks to be in bad shape. A lot of clutter and some shady looking repairs. I sincerely hope they are OK. I wouldn’t take into the open Gulf of Mexico much less the Pacific Ocean.”

“Could it be possible due to the shape the boat is in (not good) that they stopped somewhere for repairs? Could be limited on funds to complete repairs and stuck somewhere without any knowledge that people are looking for them.” “That boat is ill-prepared. Look at the barnacles on the hull. Poor maintenance along with the acquired junk on the boat make a real big safety issue. Sailing among the local islands is about all this boat should be doing. Major ocean crossings will consume that vessel for sure.”

Meanwhile, Lang appeared to be having the sail of his life, staying out of port for financial reasons as much as his pure love of being at sea.

@neetpirate

don just arrived 348 days non stop, about 16,000 miles. My best yet. Was trying for a year but needed repairs after several gales beat me up. My mind is so calm and clear out here it’s where I belong. Caught over 300 fish and swung in my hammock under a sunshade. No bills, no bad news, just nature. Slowed the boat to three knots and the schools of fish stay with me for weeks at that speed. With ports wanting an average of $1500 each time you pull in I’ve been enjoying stretching my cruising dollars at sea. Wanted to visit midway as I passed but it was $500 to enter and a whopping $220 a day to moor my boat so I sailed by. Would like too refit and try nonstop south around the world via the three capes next. Ishi is amazing sea boat. Rock solid and struts through the gales. So much room below the floors to stow canned goods and get the weight down low. Need to redesign the water tanks so I don’t start the voyage with slight list or start on a starboard tack for a month lol Who’s the asshole that reported me missing? Can’t an old salt get some piece and quiet? Everyone new I had a year’s supply of food and water and carry every tool imaginable and loads of spare parts to jury rig stuff. Im a boat builder and can fix anything on a boat ffs. The main reason I like extended sails is there is so damn much media noise in the world these days its hard to get some real quiet time anymore. I highly recommend it, the calm seas, a billion stars in the night sky, and the cleanest air you’ve ever breathed. Wish I took more books though, only had one….the water in between by Kevin Patterson. I highly recommend it 😉 #ishi #sailing #sailboat

♬ Come Sail Away – Styx

“[I] was trying for a year, but needed repairs after several gales beat me up,” Lang wrote on TikTok. “My mind is so calm and clear; out here [is] where I belong. Caught over 300 fish and swung in my hammock under a sunshade. No bills, no bad news, just nature. Slowed the boat to three knots and the schools of fish stay with me for weeks at that speed.

“With ports wanting an average of $1,500 each time you pull in, I’ve been enjoying stretching my cruising dollars at sea. Wanted to visit Midway as I passed, but it was $500 to enter and a whopping $220 a day to moor my boat, so I sailed by.

“Would like to refit and try nonstop south around the world via the three capes next. Ishi is [an] amazing sea boat. Rock solid and struts through the gales. So much room below the floors to stow canned goods and get the weight down low. Need to redesign the water tanks so I don’t start the voyage with slight list or start on a starboard tack for a month. LOL,” Lang said, apparently poking fun at the list comments.

“Everyone [knew] I had a year’s supply of food and water and carry every tool imaginable and loads of spare parts to jury rig stuff. I’m a boatbuilder and can fix anything on a boat ffs. [For F*@k’s Sake.] The main reason I like extended sails is there’s so damn much media noise in the world these days, it’s hard to get some real quiet time anymore. I highly recommend it, the calm seas, a billion stars in the night sky, and the cleanest air you’ve ever breathed.

“Wish I took more books though, only had one: The Water in Between by Kevin Patterson. [Lang is featured in the book.] I highly recommend it. ;)”

Contribute

14 Comments

  1. Dennis Bailey 10 months ago

    Atta boy!

  2. Jerry Curl 10 months ago

    Well done Sailor 🤙

  3. robert cleveland 10 months ago

    Good on ya Don 👍👍👍Feel the Same Way Mate
    Robbie
    Sunshine Coast Qld Australia

  4. Rick Drain 10 months ago

    I am puzzled by “348 days non stop, about 16,000 miles.” I’m not judging, just curious about the intent of nearly a year nonstop averaging just under 2kts. Again, seriously not judging, but what fraction of the time were sails up? What was the Lat/Lon extent of the round-trip track?
    I’m glad he had fun.

    • Don Lang 9 months ago

      The intent; to get out and enjoy the time at sea with nature away from the relentless media noise that has become the norm in the American society.
      I have no schedule, no place I have to be.
      The route: south to the equator, west to New guinea (plenty of rain to keep water topped up, and lots of calms to enjoy drifting under a billion stars in the night sky). Gale blew me five hundred miles east so I decided to go north to the westerlies, up thru the Marshall’s., north of Wake island. Then east to Hawaii.
      Lots of calms along this route as you run the edge of the high.
      For people on a schedule that’s frustrating. For me with no schedule it’s magical drifting on a glassy sea under a canopy of stars with the Bioluminescence glowing so brightly the tuna and whales glow as they swim alongside.

    • Rick Drain 9 months ago

      Hi Don, thanks for the explanation. I understand. After several Pacific crossings I, too, fondly recall the days when the ocean was glassy flat. I’m back in the big city now, but sometimes I fantasize about sailing back out into the High to drift for a week or two and truly get away from it all.

  5. Ferris Wills 10 months ago

    Beautiful, well done!

  6. Lindsay Wright 10 months ago

    Isn’t it funny that for every sailor who is at sea sailing – there’s hundreds who know more about what they should be doing.
    Kia kaha (New Zealand Maori for “be strong…”)…..great piece of work and choice of boat.

  7. Memo Gidley 10 months ago

    Love it…and do believe in going after what you want…even if it means living on the edge at times!! But living on the edge does not mean you are not in control! Go Donald!

  8. Ana 10 months ago

    What happened to the woman and her kids that went with him?

    • Tim Henry 9 months ago

      Ana — There was no mention of any crew by Lang himself, but no one associated with ‘Ishi’ appears to missing.

  9. Norm LeBlanc 10 months ago

    Arm chair sailors Donald doesn’t deserve any negative comments.
    Congratulations to Donald.

  10. Jim Hunter 9 months ago

    Don, call me. 804-238-8216

  11. Jim Hood 5 months ago

    A true sailing God!

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