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No One Aboard as Authorities Reach Donald Lawson’s ‘Defiant’

Baltimore sailor Donald Lawson was en route from Acapulco to Baltimore, where he was to prepare for his around-the-world record attempt aboard the ORMA 60 Defiant, when he encountered a series of difficulties. On July 9, Lawson told his wife Jacqueline he was having problems with his boat’s hydraulic rigging and was without engine power, the Baltimore Sun reported. Then on July 12 he lost his wind generator due to a storm. At their last contact on July 13, Lawson told Jaqueline he had “25% of battery power and no way of charging.” Jacqueline reported her concern to authorities on Friday, July 14, after Lawson had turned around to head back to Acapulco for repairs. After a week of searching, his boat was reportedly spotted by a Mexican navy plane last Sunday, though they would not confirm its identity. Jacqueline Lawson did confirm the boat is Defiant.

Lawson was attempting to break multiple records under the banner of his nonprofit, Dark Seas Project.
© 2023

Rough seas prevented any vessel from approaching Defiant until Thursday, when a ship was able to reach the capsized trimaran. While there was hope that Lawson might still be with the boat, Mexican authorities determined he was not aboard. According to the Sun, Jacqueline received an email from Mexican authorities Friday morning stating that the boat was “found without any crew members on board or anywhere in the vicinity of the boat.”

The 210-ft US Coast Guard vessel Active has joined the search for any sign of Lawson in the ocean near Defiant’s location, approximately 300 miles south of Acapulco, the Baltimore Banner said. “The Coast Guard declined to give details about the search, but a crew would be typically looking for any sign of survivors and debris.”


  1. Rev Dr Malama 9 months ago

    Bummer. He was so determined… we pray he is found.

  2. Capt Kevin S McQuiston 9 months ago

    He has been incredibly encouraging to me, messaging me about my planned circumnavigation. I worried because I’m sure he would have set off his EPIRB he had been able or conscious.

  3. Ray 9 months ago

    I truly hope and pray so many find him alive. It is possible.

  4. Kristin White 9 months ago

    This is devastating news. So brave for him and his crew to attempt this endeavor. To family and friends ❤️. Kristy Salt Lake City

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