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Mysterious Disappearance: Baltimore Sailor Who Had His Eyes Set on Breaking 15 World Records In Five Years Has Been Missing at Sea for More Than a Week, Wife Says

A Black sailor from West Baltimore reportedly has been missing at sea for over a week.

Donald Lawson, 41, left Acapulco, Mexico, on July 5 and headed back to Baltimore before he started experiencing difficulties with his boat. According to his wife Jacqueline, her husband planned to sail through the Panama Canal on his return from the boating trip, but she received a text from him on July 9 that said he had been experiencing difficulties with his hydraulic rigging and then with a wind generator because of the lack of engine power.

Donald Lawson, 41, reportedly has been missing at sea for more than a week. (Photo: @Jessica_L_Hunt/Twitter screenshot)

Jacqueline said she last heard from him on July 12 after he told her that he had lost the wind generator due to a storm.

The West Baltimore native was reportedly traveling on a boat named Defiant, which is a 60-foot Ocean Racing Multihull Association-class trimaran boat. The boat set multiple world records before Lawson acquired it in April, but it had undergone repairs in Mexico.

Lawson’s love for sailing and boats started when he was about 9 years old. The professional sailor is the founder of the Dark Seas, which is a nonprofit that is aimed at promoting the sport of sailing and diversifying the sport as well as getting more Black people involved.

“Sailing requires a boat, and when you are struggling to live, a boat is the last thing on your mind,” Lawson said to the Robb Report in an interview. “Yacht Clubs have historically not been very inclusive to women or minorities, so what you have is an uncomfortable scenario where individuals are afraid to ask and the clubs don’t know how to be inclusive.”

In February, he set out a plan to break 15 world records in a five-year span. He planned to break his first world record this fall by attempting to become the first American to circumnavigate the globe solo in 70 days on a trimaran boat.

As for search efforts, the U.S. Coast Guard issued a report to alert vessels within a 300-nautical mile radius of his last known location which was detected on July 13.

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