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.