Forget about the body-numbing temperatures, violent storms, and colossal icebergs. As Tim Kent makes last-minute preparations for his solo sail around the globe, he has one thing on his mind: getting enough shut-eye.
"I worry about exhaustion," says the first-time Around Alone competitor. "I hope to be able to get four to five hours of sleep a day. You have to grab it when you can. You very rarely sleep in long stretches."
Kent will need to catch his z's if he's going to conquer the longest race on Earth. During the seven-month voyage, the 50-year-old from land locked Milwaukee, Wisconsin, will take on some of the most experienced mariners in the world.
A sailor since he was 11 years old, Kent is prepared for the worstunpredictable weather, heavy winds, and titanic waves. Each leg of the journey, he says, has its own unique and grueling demands.
"One of the worst parts of the race is the doldrums near the equator," he says. "It gets so hot you can barely go outside. The air is dead. It's very difficult to make progress there."
To successfully complete the race, Kent will have to be part meteorologist and part carpenter. He'll spend most of his time keeping track of weather systems and making repairs to his boat.
"I know every inch of this boat now," he says. "If something breaks, there's no one else to fix it. The bottom line is you have to fix it yourself."
Should Kent run into danger, his sailboat is equipped with communication devices and transmitters that will notify Around Alone staffers where he is located. He'll also have a satellite phone to call for help.
Although Kent expects he'll have little time for rest and relaxation, he says he'll pass the time listening to CDs, watching DVD movies on his computer, and trading e-mails with his two young daughters.
While he looks forward to returning to dry land by mid to late April, for now Kent is focused on the race ahead.
"It's an enormous personal challenge to sail around the world," he says. "To do it solo is one of the most-difficult things anyone can do. This is an incredibly bold undertaking."