Here She Comes – Donna Lange on the Homestretch!

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In less than a week, solo sailor and solo circumnavigator, Donna Lange, will pull back into Bristol Harbor right on time – as planned – well, at least for the calendar. She was meaning to be the first woman solo circumnavigator to go around the world non-stop, but breakdowns in the infamous Southern Ocean cut that dream short and sent her through the Panama Canal. She confesses on her blog though, that this diversion is all just fine with her. She met great sailors and friends, fixed her boat and regrouped to get herself home up the east coast of South America and onto the US east coast.

Should you like to help welcome Donna back to the solid ground,  please come to Herreshoff Museum in Bristol, RI for a welcome reception for Donna and Inspired Insanity (maybe she’ll change the name now, being a saner sailor!) on Friday – yes this Friday, May 27th at 5:30.

Details can be found mostly by following Donna’s blog HERE. You can follow her progress towards Bristol and track the end of her trip. Jamestown Distributors and TotalBoat was proud to help Donna outfit her boat prior to her departure and we sure will be glad to see her coming back into the harbor! SAIL ON, Donna!

Donna Lange Makes Landfall at the Panama Canal

Photo from Cruising World Magazine

Photo from Cruising World Magazine

Donna Lange is safe and sound in a marina near the entrance of the Panama Canal. She found her way here after a rough passage in the Southern Ocean which, when a series of strong storms knocked her boat down, broke the boom and swamped the cockpit and much of the cabin and vital electronics. While she remains without an engine, GPS and many of the other luxuries that might “save” her, she has a serious resolve, some on shore support and her trusty sails which got her safely to this point. Now the challenge is getting through the Panama Canal to the Atlantic Side where she will stop for repair. But having no engine and getting through the canal is serving up a bit of a challenge. Nothing that her shore companion, Bob Philburn, can’t handle though.

Check out this great update with Donna and Cruising World Executive Editor, Herb McCormick, and consider chipping in to help Donna defray costs of getting repaired and back home to Rhode Island!

READ MORE HERE at Cruising World Magazine.

DONATE HERE to help get Donna home!

Donna Lange – Around Cape #1 (of Good Hope)

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Have you checked in recently to see where solo cicumnavigator, Donna Lange, is on the chart? She has covered an amazing distance and kept it together – for the most part. Certainly there have been issues along the way – but nothing dire and I, for one, feel proud of the resourcefulness Donna has shown.

She is blogging fairly regularly on her blog, and she often includes a photo from her voyage. Imagine our excitement when the photo of the day gave major props to TotalSeal, one of the many products we packed in her TotalBoat Kit for her voyage around the world. Read the TotalSeal excerpt from her blog post below and feel the love she gives this clever little tube of elastomeric marine sealant.

DL: I also ended up caulking the forward hatch with fantastic Total Boat product Total Seal. I am getting a lot of water either in through the hatch or from condensation…I am not quite sure if it is salt or fresh…it could be condensation with the sun so warm in the day and so cool at night…but it is dripping wet if it is fresh water. I figured it must be salt so I caulked the outer edge today to try to allow it to dry. The fabric is totally soaked on the port side where the wood comes to the walll. A strange place. It isn’t coming from the edges…I have a tarp under hatch with a chamois on it to actually absorb the water and then it dries with the sun in the hatch window. works well actually…If there is water in the morning,, I will taste it to make sure it isn’t condensation.

It has been “amusing” let’s say, to follow Donna in her journey. She has been proclaiming a bit of “sea madness” and frustration with items left at home (not enough: propane, sugar, fresh water…uh-oh) and has been suffering from a touch of lonesome blues, longing for home and her friends and a warm, dry bed.  The sea madness thing is real – and is something I imagine can set in for any adventurer who is spending months alone, with no human contact. The crazy solo circumnavigators of the Vendee Globe who race each other around the world on 50 or 60 foot racing sailboats, have well documented the crazies that take hold when you spend so much time out there alone – just you and the sea life, some birds (Donna’s are named and seem to pay her frequent visits), and music to keep you “sane?”  (Donna is writing songs and singing to the birds and her blogging audience…) Music seems important for noise, rhythm, happiness and sanity – although the French solo sailor in the video below might prove otherwise… In any case – sea madness is real. Check out this craziness from the middle of the Indian Ocean a few years ago. He must be doing 15+ knots with wicked seas and he isn’t touching the helm or the sails – he is focused solely on the  chords he is cranking out on his…harness… 

Donna in the Southern Hemisphere

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Over the weekend, Captain Donna Lange had some big milestones in her sailing expedition. The solo around the world sailor has crossed the equator west of Africa and she is making great progress and in good shape. The boat is holding up. The captain’s spirits seem high – higher than her near Sea Madness in the Intertropical Convergence Zone (the Doldrums) when she was becalmed for weeks.

She wrote this happy thought in her blog, assuring all of her good place psychologically and on the globe: Truth is that I can’t think of any way that my world could be better at this moment. I am where I want to be right now and the ocean is kind, the breezes perfect and fresh enough, the motion as gentle as it can be and still make progress close hauled. My world on land has given me permission to be here.

Are you following her blog and her progress? It’s been fun and a bit “mental” to follow along with her writing which is so honest and forthcoming. She is not afraid to be afraid or down, and her mood seems to shift with the winds… like any good ocean sailor.

She is making good progress but is far from done. Only 50+days into her adventure – she is staring down decreasing temperatures, bigger winds and seas and who knows what else? But she is determined and mostly ready…except for some propane supply doubts and a few handy items left ashore – her Thixo tubes and flotation bags, kites and sextants are keeping her on track.  Follow Donna here.

Following Donna

Screenshot 2015-08-28 11.50.26She’s doing it! Donna Lange has been at sea for just over a month and she has crossed a calm (too calm?) Atlantic Ocean and is headed south towards the Canaries. She is fluttering between frustration for bad decisions about her course and departure and also for the things she left behind. But she’s doing it and she leaves you with her hopeful spirit at the end of each blog post and you know although she sounds intermittently despondent, that she is fulfilling her dreams and doing what she loves,

She has made friends with a sea bird, Alcid, who is keeping her company and has taken to a daily swim off the boat in the calm ocean. The bird and the swims seem to bring her hope. That and a fresh fish for a change of provisions. But there is much more sailing to be done. Are you following Donna? Click the photo above or HERE to follow her blog and latest position.

 

 

Donna Lange: Underway Blog & Position Report

 

Donna Lange left Bristol almost 2 weeks ago now and she has made good progress and while her blog says the North Atlantic squalls have been challenging, her mood seems good and the optimism we expect from the accomplished sailor is inside the tone of her blog posts. Not one to let a bump in the road or some ten-foot seas get her down, Donna is battling some slow leaks and a soggy cabin but she seems to be doing well with her celestial navigation, checking her position with Bob, her partner who is keeping a close eye on her.

Enough from us! Head over to her blog and check out her posts. She will continue to add reports and her position is posted right on the homepage at www.donnalange.com 

We sure feel good knowing we helped outfit Inspired Insanity with plenty of TotalBoat supplies and a nice package of all the THIXO products she could carry before she left. Some of those Thixo products could be life saving – like the Fast Cure which doesn’t take days or need perfect conditions to do it’s job. Donna accepted the last minute extra Thixo tubes and tips like we had handed over a few Filet Mignons before her departure….and we were happy to provide it for her.

Follow Donna and wish her well on her blog page. I am sure a few notes from her followers will brighten up even the stormiest day in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean!

 

Donna Lange is on Her Way Around the World…Again!

Donna Lange’s send off party date was chosen months prior to the actual event, as is the case when reserving a fancy venue like the Herreshoff Marine Museum. But as the date for her second solo circumnavigation departure snuck closer, her to-do list remained long and stressful. But she did what any good sailor would do – continue to prepare like mad with lots of help and new equipment to tweak, learn and ultimately shake down. And when the date arrived and she wasn’t quite ready to go – and you DON’T GO around the world ill prepared – she went through her ceremonial send off, with plenty of fans and fanfare and even a canon salute and sailed off into the…. harbor.

Wisely and with much admiration for the guts, not only to know when to “hold ’em” but also for sailing around the world alone, Donna chose to carry on with the farewell and then have a little shakedown cruise around Bristol Harbor. She then returned back to her mooring and the work continued. No one at Donna’s send off could begrudge her for not sailing off into the sunset. She has done this “around alone” thing before and everyone there seemed to understand her focus and determination and support her in every decision she made.

She received many new pieces that were integral to her voyage. New pilot kites in the event of a mast failure, new Harken winches and blocks, new sails, a buoyancy system of inflating airbags, new solar and wind power, new lines and leads and many many other new complicated systems that required serious installation and education for a successful voyage.

So just yesterday, on July 31st, with a rare summer Bristol Harbor northerly morning breeze, she hoisted her sails and headed south out of Narragansett Bay. Her website is tracking her position (that she cannot see) and she will update us and her website via satellite connection to email and single sideband radio.

Farewell Donna and we wish you a safe and comfortable voyage. She plans to head across the Atlantic and down the coast of Africa and around the Capes in the Southern Ocean. With no electronics or GPS aboard, she is depending on her newly honed celestial navigation skills to guide her around the oceans. And when she pulls back into Bristol Harbor next spring, we will be there to greet her and congratulate her on being the first American woman to solo circumnavigate nonstop. And TotalBoat will have done the voyage around the world with her…and that, too will be a cool thing to celebrate.

GO DONNA!

Donna Sets Sail for the World!

In a few short days, the wait will be over for Donna Lange. For years she has been preparing for this second voyage around the world and the time has come to slip the lines, hoist her new sails and point her bow east across the Atlantic Ocean. Sunday at noon Donna Lange will leave Bristol Harbor on her attempt to be the first American woman to sail nonstop around the world alone. She has completed the circumnavigation before, when, as we shared in this blog post from a few weeks back, she made several stops along the way before returning home to RI.

Donna has been working madly for weeks on her Southern Cross 28 which she further readied for her ocean going voyage with new lines, a new Harken furler, winches and blocks and a new windvane, solar panel, sails and more! We were excited at the chance to send our TotalBoat brand around the world with Donna and offered her full sponsorship for her boating projects using TotalBoat.

  

She used WetEdge to redo the decks in a bright white. She used TB Spartan Bottom Paint in blue for her bottom, she insulated lazarettes and a bulkhead using the TotalBoat Floatation Foam, Used TB 5:1 Epoxy with slow hardener to seal the cockpit floor where the engine once lived. The teak railing got love from TB Danish Teak Sealer and THIXO, TotalSeal and Bond tubes are staples in her onboard workshop.

Come wish Donna well on Sunday at 10am at the Herreshoff Marine Museum. The send off party will sign her new mainsail, wish her well and wave farewell as she heads out of Narragansett Bay and out into the Atlantic Ocean.

We commend Donna for her vision of green sailing without GPS, engine and any outside assistance. Watch TotalBoat Show for updates on her position and progress and send messages to Donna which we will deliver to her via her SSB radio which will be one of her only electronic devices aboard.

FAIR WINDS and FOLLOWING SEAS, Donna. The TotalBoat Team will be there to wish you well as you sail away and TotalBoat will be at your sides (and above and underneath you) as you make your dream a reality.

We believe in you and we wish you well! See you soon!

 

 

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: