Tim Kent “Around Alone” Aboard Everest Horizontal
By Thom Burns
How does a guy who grows up in Michigan and lives in Elm Grove, Wisconsin near Milwaukee get involved in an Around The World Race? A dream, a vision, tons of hard work and a very supportive family. His extended family of sailors primarily based out of the Milwaukee Yacht Club have also tried to help with this immensely expensive endeavor.
The sailor is Tim Kent. The race around the world is "Around Alone." His boat is called Everest Horizontal. Named to help explain the difficulty of rounding all the Capes representing Mt. Everest while doing it horizontally.
Tim is the first Midwesterner since Mike Plant who was lost ten years ago while sailing to the start of the Vendee Globe, a nonstop around the world race, to compete at this level of single-handed racing. Mike started his single-handed career in the same race and class in which Tim is competing. Mike won Class II in 1987.
Like Mike, Tim's campaign is grossly under funded with no title sponsor. He started the race with a four year old main sail. Once at sea, most but not all of those financial concerns fade into the rhythm of the sea. Tim is on Leg two now around the equator headed for Cape Town, South Africa. He has been as high as second and as I write this he was in fourth place a mere 15 miles out of second.
Tim has a very Midwestern, realistic and sensible approach. His first goal for the race is to finish. The history of the Around Alone race is littered with fast boats and sailors who failed to complete the race. The second goal is to finish well. Tim is a competitor. This is not a cruise for him. He finished first in class and first to finish in the 330 mile Chicago-to-Mackinac solo race. Still it is a long ways from a three hundred plus mile sprint to the shortest leg of the "Around Alone" which is 2,930 nautical miles. The total race distance is 28,800 nautical miles.
Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, Chairman of Clipper Ventures PLC, himself an around the world veteran said, "Around Alone is the greatest mental and physical challenge in any sport. Only those with the highest proven stamina and mental toughness should enter for what is the ultimate classic ocean race - the ultimate sporting challenge." Tim seems respectful of the sea while undaunted by the challenge. If you read his communiqués, it seems that he has some secret weapons. Two grade school age daughters, Alison and Whitney, and his wife, Cheri. Tim has at least temporarily given up his career in publishing and incurred substantial personal debts. In a recent radio interview, he said , 'There is no turning back. We're going to complete this dream . . . And then I'm going to come home and be a dad and let the chips fall where they may."
I found Tim's communiqués very well written and interesting. This is a sailor who has contemplated about life and what's important. I would encourage you to follow Tim's adventure, make it your own and contribute a purchase off his web site or more if you can.
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