Round-the-World Solo Sailor To Be Honored in Her Home State

"At Sea" from our April 26, 2007, CW Reckonings

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Donna Lange embraces Brian Oatley, who towed Inspired Insanity in to Bermuda after the boat was battered in a storm during her circumnavigation attempt.Www.donnalange.com

Though her boat's been waylaid, solo circumnavigator Donna Lange is home in Rhode Island, where a party has been planned to celebrate the voyage that has taken her around the world.

After riding out an intense storm that had battered much of the Midwest and East Coast of the United States for several days, Lange was towed into St. George, Bermuda, April 19.

Lange, 45, was en route from the British Virgin Islands to Bristol, Rhode Island, and well on the way to completing a 31,000-mile circumnavigation on Inspired Insanity, her 28-foot Southern Cross sloop. In addition to withstanding torrential rain, 60-knot gusts, and 40-foot seas, Lange lost her sea anchor and the boat's steering gear was damaged, leaving her no choice but to hand steer for 36 hours to the nearest refuge-Bermuda-185 miles to the east.

At the height of the storm, "A huge wave broke completely over the port stern quarter," said Lange, "Throwing us fully onto our side. I was literally holding my breath under water, holding on to the dodger with all my life."
On April 19, Lange put in a call to the St. George's Dinghy and Sports Club and was met shortly thereafter by Brian Oatley at the Sea Buoy, where she was towed in to the safety of the harbor. Inspired Insanity will undergo repairs in Bermuda so that Lange will be able to sail her to Bristol, which she intends to be the final stop of her voyage. Meantime, after a few days of well-deserved rest, Lange hopped a plane to Rhode Island for a welcome home ceremony that had been planned for her arrival. The Rhode Island House of Representatives had already declared April 28 as "Donna Lange Day," and the Herreshoff Marine Museum (www.herreshoff.org) scheduled an open house that day from 3 to 6 p.m., starting on the museum's dock.

The public is welcome to attend the event, to enjoy music, food, drinks, and presentations by honorary speakers and sailors. For more information on Donna Lange visit her website (www.donnalange.com).