Exclusive Interview: Donna Lange’s Solo Circumnavigation Preparation

When Captain Donna Lange set sail in 2007, she pointed her bow towards New Zealand after departing Bristol Harbor in RI. A registered nurse with a master’s degree, grandmother to 11 and mother of 4, the now 53 year old woman had a successful first attempt at solo circumnavigating, with a few extra stops, plenty of bad weather and an extended stay in New Zealand.  Now she is going back for more, with another attempt to solo circumnavigate on the same boat (a 28′ Southern Cross that is ocean proven and sturdy) – but this time without any stops and without any modern electronics.

She is not only ditching the stops – she is ditching the GPS, VHF and all modern electronics aboard in favor of a sextant and a single-sideband radio. She plans on updating her website often with news of her progress via the SSB radio.  We visited Donna today to drop off a big box of TotalBoat supplies for her work list,  and asked her about her planning, her route and her choice to ditch the modern conveniences that many of us feel are safety nets. She says she feels safer because she can depend on these manual instruments and doesn’t worry about them breaking down or losing signal, etc. Halsey Herreshoff of Bristol, RI and yes – one of the original Herreshoffs’ of the 1900’s boat design and building fame, has been spending time with Donna teaching her the ropes of celestial navigation.

Donna told SAIL Magazine about her choice to navigate with the stars, and it sounds pretty good to me!

DL: This voyage will emphasize the need for traditional seamanship skills to safely navigate offshore. I’ll enhance my experience by being tuned into the energy of the ocean and the celestial bodies. The most exciting aspect of my adventure will be finding my way by being connected to my inner self and immersed in the environment. The SSB allows me to access weather reports, transmit email logs to my website and provide adequate communication while I’m sailing. I will have a transponder so I can be followed and located if I have any safety needs, but I should be able to navigate accurately.

And you can bet we will be tracking Donna on TotalBoat Show on her trip around the world. She won’t be lonely out there with all 6 followers of this blog reading her updates and sending her notes. (ha!) She has solid support from friends and family up and down the coast who will support her along the way – and she has the backing and support of a solid sponsor base. (she can always use more sponsorship, though)

And in case you thought this would be easy for Donna, having done it once before, No way! Donna has a work list and boat that appears to need months of preparation, not weeks. But after spending a little time with Donna and her sturdy boat, I have little doubt that she can get it all done in time for her July 26th departure.  She will be TotalBoat-ing her vessel with the items below and has an ingenious idea for using our floatation foam in a bulkhead!

Here is her TotalBoat Supply List.
Floatation foam                                           1 qt.
Danish Teak Sealer                                     1 qt
Lust High Gloss Varnish                              1 qt
Total Buff-rubbing compound                     1 qt
Total Shine-finishing compound                  1 qt
Total Bond                                                  2 tubes
Total Seal                                                    2 tubes
Total Fair                                                    1- 2 qt kit
Epoxy resin/slow hardener it                       1 gallon
Milled Glass filler                                         1 qt
Wood Flour filler                                          1 qt
Thixo                                                           3 tubes
Thixo fast                                                    2 tubes
Spartan Bottom Paint– blue                        1-2 gallons
Topside Primer                                           1 gallon
Wet Edge Topside Paint –  white                 1 gallon

TotalBoat and Jamestown Distributors are proud to be sponsoring Donna by providing her with all the TotalBoat products she needs to make her boat sail fast and safely and to look great!

Event Schedule:

Donate to Donna’s campaign on her website. She needs more help!

Read the article from SAIL Magazine about Donna’s upcoming adventure.

Watch a video which preceded her last voyage:

 

3 thoughts on “Exclusive Interview: Donna Lange’s Solo Circumnavigation Preparation

  1. Well done, captain, and the best of luck on your reprise!

    I was intrigued by the rectangular, metal frame bolted to your vessel’s port quarter. At first, I thought it might be a temporary scaffold of some sort. Or some other assist for repairs. If that is the case, then my worries would be for naught.

    However, if this is a permanent structure (a boarding ladder?) my concern is about the effect it may have when you are on starboard tack: When underway, and it dips below the water surface, it will induce a tremendous drag, causing you not only to slow, but being off-center, to fall off.

    My apologies, if I’m off track here, but I would hate to see you hanging over the gunwale with a hacksaw in order to rid yourself of this appendage in the first hour after re-launching.

    And what first caught my attention was not the position, or the angles, or any “engineering.” Rather, it was simply its contradictory, unnatural shape. Its function may be entirely justified, but good aesthetic form is always a necessity.

    Best regards,
    Paul Woodward

  2. Pingback: Donna Sets Sail for the World! | TotalBoat Show

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