Donald Lawson, a 41-year-old professional sailor from Baltimore, Maryland. Who has been missing for over two weeks off the coast of Mexico, but his sailboat has been recently found by the Mexican authorities. Here is what you need to know about this story.
Donald Lawson is a veteran sailor who has been sailing since he was 12 years old. He has participated in many races and competitions, and he has also worked as a sailing instructor and a boat captain. He is known for being one of the few Black sailors in the sport, and he has a passion for promoting diversity and inclusion in sailing. He is the founder and president of the Dark Seas Project, a nonprofit organization that aims to inspire and empower people of color to pursue sailing as a recreational and professional activity.
Lawson had a dream of becoming the first African American to circumnavigate the globe alone in a sailing vessel no longer than 60 feet. He also wanted to break several world records, such as the fastest solo circumnavigation, the fastest solo transatlantic crossing, and the fastest solo Pacific crossing. He bought a 60-foot racing trimaran called Defiant, which was one of the fastest boats ever built. He planned to sail from Acapulco, Mexico, to Central America, through the Panama Canal, and back to Baltimore, in a journey that would take about six months.
He set off from Acapulco on July 5, 2023, but he encountered some problems along the way. On July 9, he reported that a storm had knocked out one of his engines, and he decided to turn back to Mexico. On July 12, he contacted his wife, Jacqueline Lawson, and told her that he was experiencing electrical and mechanical issues with his boat, and that he was about 275 nautical miles offshore of Acapulco. That was the last time anyone heard from him.
His wife reported him missing to the U.S. Coast Guard on July 21, after she did not receive any more communication from him. The Coast Guard alerted the vessels in the area and requested assistance from the Mexican Navy. The search and rescue operation was complicated by the hurricane season in the Pacific Ocean, which created bad weather conditions and high waves.
On July 25, the Mexican Navy announced that they had spotted a capsized yacht that matched the description of Lawson’s Defiant. They said that they had not seen any signs of life or distress signals from the boat, and that they were unable to reach it due to the weather. They said that they were doing everything they can to get closer to the boat and confirm if Lawson was on board or not.
The U.S. Coast Guard confirmed that they had received photos of the boat from the Mexican Navy, and that they were working with them to coordinate the rescue efforts. They said that they were hopeful that Lawson was still alive and had managed to survive in one of his life rafts or his survival suit. They said that Lawson was an experienced sailor who was well-equipped for such situations.
Lawson’s family and friends said that they were not giving up hope either, and that they were praying for his safe return. They said that Lawson was a strong and resilient person who loved sailing and adventure. They said that he had inspired many people with his passion and vision for sailing, and that he had made a positive impact on the sailing community.