As the “School By The Sea,” Tabor is well known for attracting a talented batch of sailors to its student body and faculty. With a nationally ranked competitive sailing program and the 92-foot schooner SSV Tabor Boy, the school is no stranger to top-notch sailing. On April 10, the Tabor community was introduced to a different breed of sailor when two-time solo circumnavigator Donna Lange visited campus.
Lange spent most of Monday on campus, first speaking to the students and faculty during the regularly scheduled “Chapel” program. In Hoyt Hall, Lange described her journeys around the world and the experiences and lessons she learned while onboard her sailboat. Standing on stage, Lange used a range of photos and videos from her voyages to show the student body and faculty both difficulties and the amazing moments of the trips.
During the evening of April 10, Lange spoke to a large audience in Lyndon South Auditorium, an event which was free and open to the public. The event was part of Tabor’s ongoing “Science at Work Lecture Series,” which has brought a range of national and local scientists and explorers to Tabor to tell their stories and share their research with the Tabor and local communities.
Lange made her voyages circumnavigating the globe in 2007 and 2015. In 2007, Lange took two stops along the way, starting and finishing in Bristol, Rhode Island. The second time was notable not only because she completed the trip without stopping, but she did so without GPS technology using only celestial navigation. While celestial navigation is not as common in the modern era with the widespread use of GPS, her use of it struck a chord with a number of Tabor students who had learned to use it as an advanced offering of the nautical science curriculum.
In both talks, Lange told of how she spent her time throughout the voyages. Amid boat repairs – of which there were many and all done by hand by herself – she wrote songs and books (some that are still in the editing process) and documented her experiences online, in photographs, and in videos. Being in countless bodies of water along her voyage, Lange conducted scientific tests including mammal surveys, birding surveys, and water sampling. Additionally, Lange used this opportunity to allow emerging technologies for marine survival, such as an emergency deployable flotation system and an emergency kite, to be tested on board.
For students, faculty, and local community members, having Donna Lange on campus to share her experiences was a unique opportunity to not only learn about someone who has an amazing story and amazing accomplishments, but also learn about the immense value of taking on such great challenges such as circumnavigating the globe by sail. While most people in the audience will not be trying such a herculean task, the importance of perseverance and finding one’s true self amid challenges resonated to all in attendance.
By Jack Gordon