Mexican authorities say they have located and inspected the overturned sailboat of the Baltimore sailor whose been missing for two weeks but found no signs of him.
Donald Lawson, 41, set out to sail from Acapulco, Mexico, on July 5 to Baltimore. His route was going to take him to Central America’s west coast and then through the Panama Canal before going back to his hometown. He began to experience engine troubles on July 9 with his 60-foot racing trimaran called “Defiant.”
The experienced sailor had a goal of setting 15 world records in a five-year span. He sent a text message to his wife, Jacqueline, on July 12 to inform her that he had lost his wind generator due to a storm, which was the last time she heard from him. He had been experiencing difficulties with his hydraulic rigging.
Lawson’s vessel was spotted by a Mexican plane on July 23, about 275 nautical miles from Acapulco. But Thursday, July 27, was the first time it could be approached by boat. The Baltimore Sun reports that Lawson’s wife got an email on the morning of July 28 from Mexican officials saying Lawson’s boat was “found without any crew members on board or anywhere in the vicinity of the boat.”
According to a spokesperson from Mexico’s marine secretary’s office, bad weather due to the Pacific’s hurricane season had prevented authorities from actually reaching the boat and searching the area for his body earlier.
The Defiant was equipped with two life rafts, a survival suit, and more emergency gear. There remains hope that he could be found alive in the Pacific. The United States Coast Guard, which was not involved in the inspection of Lawson’s capsized boat, has a ship deployed in the area and is continuing to search for the missing man.
Quentin Lawson, his brother, said that data from his brother showed he reduced speed while he was traveling with the wind on late July 12 but changed course to begin traveling against the wind at a reduced speed of 2.9 knots.
“Jacqueline Lawson remains hopeful that her husband will be located and returned home safely,” Lawson’s wife said in a statement released by a spokesman on Friday.