There is still no sign of Donald Lawson, the sailor from Baltimore who has been lost at sea since July 13, but his wife is sharing more about the search by Mexican authorities.
Jacqueline Lawson said in a statement released Wednesday morning that she traveled to Acapulco, Mexico, where Donald was due to arrive after equipment issues forced him to turn back on his passage to Baltimore via the Panama Canal.
The Lawsons’ 60-foot racing trimaran, Defiant, was found adrift with no one aboard about 360 nautical miles off Acapulco. Since then, Jacqueline Lawson and Donald’s family have held onto hope that he could have survived in the sailboat’s life raft, which was not found with the capsized Defiant.
Jacqueline Lawson met with Mexican Navy and Mexican Rescue Coordination Center (MRCC) leaders when she traveled to Acapulco last week, she says.
“During their lengthy informational briefings with me, I had the opportunity to review written reports describing their vigorous efforts to locate Donald. I also viewed numerous photos, both on the surface and underwater, of our de-masted and capsized SV/DEFIANT that were taken by MRCC divers. Their briefings were thorough and professional, and very much appreciated by me and the rest of Donald’s family.”
Mrs. Lawson learned that the search is no longer considered to be in ‘active’ status, but the MRCC told her they remain “on alert” for any signs of Donald Lawson or his life raft.
“They haven’t given up, and neither have I,” she says in her statement.
She continues, “It was clear to me that the Mexican Navy and MRCC truly went above and beyond in their efforts to find my husband Donald and Defiant‘s missing life raft. I am eternally grateful for their tremendous hard work and dedication as their search continued for well over a week.”
Bay Bulletin has been reporting on sailor Donald Lawson since he acquired the record-setting Ocean Racing Multihull Association-class trimaran with the goal of setting a speed record for solo circumnavigation in a boat of its kind. He aimed to become the first African American—and first American, period—to complete such a circumnavigation. When we caught up with the Lawsons at the Annapolis Spring Sailboat Show, Donald was anxious to move the boat from Mexico, where it was undergoing repairs, to Baltimore to make final preparations for his fall attempt.
He ultimately left Acapulco on July 5, but by July 12 he had a problem with his hydraulic rigging, had lost engine power, and even his backup power, a wind turbine, stopped functioning. Jacqueline reported him missing July 21 and since then, search efforts have not yieled tangible results, she says.
-Meg Walburn Viviano