We wish we had good news to share, but for now we can only hope that Donald Lawson is somewhere safe. However, East Coast news stations are reporting that Captain Lawson’s ORMA 60 trimaran Defiant has been found, capsized. The Mexican navy’s press office said a Mexican search plane had spotted a yacht, which they believed to be Defiant, 275 nautical miles off the coast of Acapulco, the Baltimore Banner reported on Tuesday. Though after its initial report, the Banner wrote, the navy “… are not confirming it to be Lawson’s Defiant.” Crews have been unable to reach the vessel due to weather and sea conditions.
According to WMAR, Lawson’s wife Jacqueline reached out to the Annapolis School of Seamanship on Friday. On July 9, Lawson had advised he was without engine power and relying solely on a wind generator. Jacqueline’s next, and last, communication with her husband was on July 13, at which time he advised he had “25% of battery power and no way of charging” after his wind generator was damaged in a storm.
“We decided that it would be best for him to turn back around and head back to Acapulco to look over these issues instead of continuing to the Panama Canal,” she told reporters. At that time he was 285 miles from Acapulco.
Lawson’s brother, Quentin Lawson Senior, told the New York Post that Donald had “dramatically reduced his vessel’s speed late on July 12,” when he went from 11 to less than 3 knots, and that Defiant had “turned course, going against the wind late into the evening.”
“‘I believe something happened at that moment,’ he told NBC News.”
In a social media post for his nonprofit organization Dark Seas Project prior to his departure from Acapulco, Lawson wrote about his preparation, his sail plan and his safety equipment, which included, “Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) linked to satellites so local Coast Guards can find us. We also have a number of satellite phones onboard that provide our Global Positioning System (GPS) …” Defiant was reportedly also equipped with two life rafts, multiple radios and a survival suit; however there are no reports of flares, or electronic messages or signals coming from the boat. A US Coast Guard spokesperson told the Baltimore Sun on Tuesday afternoon that the agency “did not have information on the reported sighting” and was “having trouble getting in touch with the Rescue Coordination Centers in Acapulco.”
This morning has brought no new information. We’ll continue keeping tabs on the situation. In the meantime, we all hope Captain Lawson is found alive and well.