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US Coast Guard Looking for Missing Sailboat, the 55-ft Sloop ‘Ishi’

Latitude 38 received a request from the US Coast Guard in Hawaii in search of a boat in the Pacific. The information below is provided by Search and Rescue Duty Officer Michael Cobb.

“The Joint Rescue Coordination Center Honolulu is attempting to locate the 55FT S/V Ishi (HA-5665-G), possibly with four people on board, currently unreported in the Pacific. The background information we have is that on 03 October 2022 the S/V departed the Ala Wai on Oahu possibly to sail to Maui then to the Pacific Northwest. We have conducted extensive checks in the Main Hawaiian Islands and have not located the vessel. They departed with four people on board, the master Donald Lang, one adult Female and her two children.”

The missing sloop Ishi. Additional photos below.
© 2023 USCG

“In interviewing the previous owner, she believes Donald would head to the Pacific Northwest, since he is from Canada and had owned a shop/sailboat repair company in Coeur d’Alene, ID. The possibility that he would sail to the NW Hawaiian Islands, Tahiti, Fiji, the Philippines, Panama, Pacific Northwest (USA), and Canada was also discussed.

“We have reached out to the adjacent RCCs to find out if they have any reports of the vessel; we are waiting to hear back from them. Knowing the reach and scope of Latitude 38, it felt prudent to check with you for any information you might be able to assist with locating the S/V Ishi and Donald.”

Anyone with information on the sailing vessel Ishi should contact the JRCC Honolulu at [email protected] or (808) 535-3333.

Sloop Ishi
Sloop Ishi.
© 2023 USCG
Sloop Ishi
Sloop Ishi.
© 2023 USCG
Sloop Ishi
Sloop Ishi.
© 2023 USCG
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39 Comments

  1. Skip.Levesque 1 year ago

    Keep in mind though that the weather has not been all that great out there and it’s a long time since October and I hope they are all safe and somehow just did not make contact when they arrived for whatever reason and if they had a sailplane why would they not have left it with someone who knew what their plan was and that seems a bit odd.

  2. Pete 1 year ago

    Not funny dude

  3. Marie 1 year ago

    That is a fully rude. 4 people are possibly struggling to live right now and making a comment like that is uncalled for.

  4. Tammie 1 year ago

    Praying for them, but that boat is not something I would put up against the Pacific or any other ocean. I don’t even know exactly what an atmospheric river is. But WOW. Oct like seven months?¹

    • Christopher 1 year ago

      You do much blue water sailing? Know much about vessels that sail the oceans each and ever day? The quality of the vessel, the experience of the crew, not the size..

    • Matt 1 year ago

      My uncle built that boat, it’s been around the world several times over. I’d put it up against any ocean. Thanks for your comment though .

  5. NFK 1 year ago

    The sailboat looks sailed to me, not just a dock condo. Wishing them all the best.

  6. Gloria Klenk 1 year ago

    Most of these comments are not helpful at all!

    • John Arndt 1 year ago

      Thank you Gloria and others who have expressed concern for the sailors. As a moderated comment section, we do attempt to keep the conversation civil and constructive. We approved some less-than-helpful comments that were irrelevant to helping the Coast Guard and concerned friends find the missing sailors. We now wish we hadn’t approved them and have since deleted them, leaving the comments of those who helped correct our course and who expressed concern for the boat and it’s crew. We hope to hear that all is well.

  7. Rob Dickinson 1 year ago

    Looks like that it was taking on water it’s keeling to the starboard at the time of pics hope all the best for them

    • Leanne LaBoda 1 year ago

      I had the same thoughts while looking at the picture.

    • Terry Johnson 1 year ago

      It does look like it’s keeling starboard. Hopefully it’s a weight distribution thing and not taking on water.

    • Ted Cohen 1 year ago

      Excellent observation.

    • brian 1 year ago

      The boat was not taking on water it was listing over to the starboard side because that photo was taken when the 700 gallon water tank on the starboard side was full
      it was leveled out before he left

  8. Michael N. 1 year ago

    Just Pray… Mother Nature is a Mother… be Safe…

  9. Christopher J. Harper 1 year ago

    What make of ship is “Sloop Ishi”?

    • Matt 1 year ago

      It’s “make” is Taylor Made. Built from an Hull by my uncle and cousin .

  10. Kenneth Douglas 1 year ago

    Google Earth photos are able to see a vehicle that size. If enough people would view suggested areas maybe their route could be established.

    • Paolo 1 year ago

      Probably landsat satellites or Millitary and other if there is minimal cloud cover, Google Earth does not update on a frequent basis.

  11. Jane Krause 1 year ago

    Might want to check in region of java,earthquake took place in Nov.2022.

  12. TMRE 1 year ago

    Prayers that they are found safe.

  13. Sailfish 1 year ago

    That boat is quite capable of handling heavy weather. Sailed through many storms in much smaller sail boats.

    • Susan Magnuson 1 year ago

      Have been watching many sailing videos, SV Delos, Ran Sailing, Sailing Nandji… yes, SV Ishi is quite capable of sailing in inclimate weather.
      I sincerely hope they are okay. ??????

  14. Early Cobb 1 year ago

    Looks like it needed a bottom job and doesn’t look in good shape. The whole boat looks to be in bad shape. A lot of clutter and some shady looking repairs. I sincerely hope they are ok. But, it’s been a long time on a boat I wouldn’t take into the open Gulf of Mexico much less the Pacific Ocean. My hopes and prayers with the families.

  15. Early Cobb 1 year ago

    Thinking based on my last comment. 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.

  16. Bobby White 1 year ago

    That boat is I’ll 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.

  17. John Eastwood 1 year ago

    If he’s from the NW he knows he can’t just cruise back here in winter on luck alone. More likely they went SW from Maui

  18. Mike 1 year ago

    Heart & prayers out to crew ……….it’s a big ass ocean. Took us 16 days SD to Pearl Harbor.

  19. S/v Seahawk 1 year ago

    Just finished a crossing in heavy weather. The boat is almost always better than the crew. Never stop sailing folks. Praying for these folks to be found. Also would like to know the manufacture of this vessel.

    • brian 1 year ago

      the hull design is of a hatfield 48 but but there was an extra 2 ft added to the center making it a 50 ft when it was built

  20. Jayanne 1 year ago

    You can’t make a judgement just on the photos that don’t even show a date! Pray they are found safe!

  21. Dave 1 year ago

    Supposedly, as some others pointed out on the fb comments, it was listing starboard due to the supplies, and Don was known to pack heavy. Hope they’re ok.

  22. Lewis 1 year ago

    Have faith, understand who the ship is named after Ishi was the last yahi indian who lived his life without contact of the modern world untill his last years. We eventually wondered out of the woods and lived in San Francisco in a college untill he past.

  23. Jim Hunter 1 year ago

    Don sailed from San Diego to Hawaii on a home-built boat years ago. I’m quite sure he has the knowledge and skills to take that boat wherever he needs to. Praying that weather conditions did not adversely affect his trip.

  24. brian 1 year ago

    dons boat is a Hatfield 48 but when it was being built they added an extra two feet to the middle of it making it a 50 ft boat.
    I’m not sure what the year was but this boat has actually been featured and had an article wrote about it on latitude 38 while it was sailing around the South Pacific for many years.

    Don has over 60,000 blue water nautical miles. they wrote a book about him called “the water in between” he is a more capable sailor than 99% of the people reading latitude 38. that boat is over built. Don has any and every sort of part or supply known to man.
    he has 3 GPS and an epirb also on board.
    he does not use social media or talk to a lot of people. he has sailed from Vancouver Island Canada to Hawaiian back multiple times One of the times being in a 20ft plywood boat with a wristwatch a sextant a compass, a bucket for a toilet, and a wind vane made out of 2x4s nailed together. Don had over a years worth of food and water on his boat before he left. he had to leave the harbor in Waikiki because his temporary 4 months was up. The u-joint in his v-drive was in need of repair so he couldn’t motor the boat around and was going to be unable to make it into any of the other harbors on the island without an engine.

    it was October 12th or 17th when his time was ran out and he was forced to leave the harbor. he wanted to head west but he didn’t want to do that until the transmission was fixed because it would have been a way harder thing to get parts and fix somewhere in the south Pacific compared to here on oahu.

    I talked to him when he got towed out of the harbor in the early morning he was right by diamond Head and he had to get off the phone because he said he was trying to get a hold of someone to come and pick The lady and her kids up in a dinghy or something because they ended up saying they weren’t going to be able to handle the waves and everybody was getting seasick.

    that was the last time I talked to him but he didn’t have a plan where he was going he told me he most likely was going to just float out in the ocean for a couple of months till January 1st and then he would be coming back to the harbor on Oahu.

    I don’t know who reported him to the Coast guard but he would not be happy about this we have talked about this many times and he always said if he ever went missing to never call the Coast guard on him because all that does is end up creating more regulations for all of us boaters from the more people that have problems and call the Coast guard. if he doesn’t want to be found that’s his choice.

    there is no way he would have went up to Washington back in October we have talked about this many times and he would never take any boat into the North Pacific in the middle of the winter. anyone who knows anything knows that is a terrible idea.

    I would have been with him but I was in Thailand when he left I didn’t know that I was coming back now that I am back in Hawaii I just made a few post on Facebook months ago just asking people if they had seen him and telling them if they see him to tell him to call me because I wanted to help him fix his v-drive because he is my friend.

  25. Jay 1 year ago

    I think he’ll probably turn up somewhere. Any vessel can anchor (in sand) in most places in Hawaii for 72 hours, probably longer if no one complains (DOCARE doesn’t want to do any extra enforcement work, they don’t like complaints). He could have anchored in various tradewind-protected areas for 4 months and then gone back to Honolulu. The only hitch would be winter with W and NW swells impacting the lee sides of the islands. Still doable–he may have been aware of this option but chose not to. Best wishes for him..

  26. Jeanne Taylor 1 year ago

    ISHI was built by my father and brother, at Pete’s Harbor, Redwood City, CA, in the 1980s. She’s a strong, overbuilt vessel and has circumnavigated the globe as well as made dozens of crossings from San Francisco to Hawaii to Australia and back.
    I hope to read that the current owner shows up, unaware friends are worried about him and his family/crew. Maybe they’re simply in an unreachable location. Has anyone checked Palmyra?

  27. Karri Olson 10 months ago

    Dan has returned to Hawaii. He is alive and safe
    https://www.tiktok.com/t/ZPR7MSNDL/

  28. Don Lang 10 months 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. 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. The first picture taken at the same departure should have also clued you into that….no list 🙂
    Ishi is a working girl and not a dock quen so yes she may not look like a shiny new penny, but she is solid and struts through the gales.
    She just completed a 348 day , 16,000 mile non stop voyage, and it was magnificent.
    Cheers, Don

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