Lawson remembered in ‘Alone’

Jul 06, 2017
Judith Lawson, late of Rockland, was the first female American sailor ever to start in the legendary Original Single-handed Trans Atlantic Race. She is pictured in her sailing days.

Rockland — Rockland Public Library, 80 Union St., and Friends of Rockland Public Library will present a screening of the documentary film “American Challenge: Alone Against the Atlantic” (1982, USA-TV) Tuesday, July 18, at 6 p.m.

The riveting documentary tracks seven solo sailors competing in the 1980 Observer Singlehanded Trans-Atlantic Race (OSTAR).   The race, from Plymouth, England, to Newport, R.I., attracts an international roster of sailors, all with a passion for winning. And no American had ever placed in this prestigious race.

“American Challenge” is the intimate on-board story of seven American solo sailors who tried. Automatic cameras installed on their boats record a unique, close-up view of men and women facing constant danger. Three thousand miles of pounding to windward strips away the veneer to reveal the human spirit alone against the inexorable power of the sea.

Recently deceased Rockland resident Judith Lawson was one of the sailors and is featured prominently in the film. A Boston Globe article about the film by columnist Ian Menzies cited a sequence in which Lawson, in a force 10 gale with 50 knot winds and 20 foot seas, has lost her mast. Her radio is disabled and her boat, one of the smallest in the race, is dead in the water. Menzie describes it as “one of the great moments of documentary film.”

This evening is hosted by Lawson’s friends and neighbors. This even is free and open to the public. For more information, call 594-0310.

Courier Publications’ A&E Editor Dagney C. Ernest can be reached at (207) 594-4401, ext. 115; or dernest@courierpublicationsllc.com.

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