U.S. Coast Guard reaches site of missing Baltimore sailor Donald Lawson’s boat

Published 7/27/2023 2:33 p.m. EDT, Updated 7/27/2023 3:27 p.m. EDT

Donald Lawson, a Baltimore sailor, in a Facebook photo from July 2022.

U.S. Coast Guard officials confirmed the cutter ACTIVE arrived Thursday around noon Eastern time in the spot missing sailor Donald Lawson’s trimaran, the Defiant, is believed to have capsized in the Pacific Ocean.

ACTIVE, a 210-foot vessel used for law enforcement and rescue operations, joined a Mexican Navy ship about 300 miles south of Acapulco, where Mexican authorities found a capsized boat that Lawson’s wife, Jacqueline Lawson, has identified as the Defiant. The Coast Guard has not confirmed the vessel is in fact the Defiant.

Lawson, 41, was last heard from July 13. He had been at sea eight days, having left Acapulco July 5. No distress call was received.

The Coast Guard declined to give details about the search, but a crew would be typically looking for any sign of survivors and debris. Lawson departed with a life raft, flotation devices and ample provisions.

The Baltimore native acquired the Defiant, a 20-year-old, 60-foot racing trimaran, in San Diego in April 2022, with the intention of using it to set a speed record for sailing around the world solo. He was in the process of sailing the boat to Panama and planned to transit the canal and sail to Baltimore, where he hoped to begin his attempt in the fall. He left San Diego shortly after Christmas, making an unplanned stop in Acapulco, where the boat spent five months undergoing repairs and maintenance.

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