Q: I have two questions!
1. Did you ever consider turning around during your journey?
2. Did you encounter dangerous animals (sharks, whales, etc.) at any point of your journey?
Vanessa W., 13, Pennsylvania
Tim: No, I have never considered turning around. Even when things are tough, I remember that the point of this race is to overcome difficult obstacles, so I keep going! I have seen some whales, but no sharks. One of my competitors, Brad Van Liew, ran into a whale yesterday! It stopped his boat completely! Adult whales weigh a lot more than this boat, so we don't want to hit them, but sometimes they sleep just below the surface with just their blowhole exposed, so you can't see them.
Q: Did you have to sail through the Bermuda Triangle? If so what happened to you while you were there? What is the hardest part of sailing around the world?
Christopher S., 13, Pennsylvania
Tim: We will sail through the Bermuda Triangle on the last leg of the race. I don't think that anything bad will happen then! So far, the two hardest things about sailing around the world have been repairing all the things that have gone wrong with the boat, and being away from my two wonderful daughters, who are 10 and 8.
Q: Were you alone during the holidays? If so, what did you do to celebrate during your voyage?
Julio C., 9, Wisconsin
Tim: Yes, I was alone for Christmas and New Year's. I had a party on Christmas. I decorated the navigation station, put on a Santa hat, and opened the presents that my family and friends sent to me. I also videotaped the whole thing. On New Year's Eve, I drank a little champagne and reflected on how lucky I am to be able to do this race.
Q: Why do you think you're so interested in this sport of sailing? Oh, and by the way, when was this sport invented?
Catherine N., 10, Wisconsin
Tim: I love sailing because I love being on the water. Sailing solo like this is a real challenge personally. To be able to do your best in the face of adversity is a wonderful way to test your knowledge and your ability to deal with a whole lot of different kinds of problems. This race [Around Alone] is 20 years old. It can be traced back to the OSTAR (Observer Newspaper's Singlehanded Transatlantic Race).
Q: Have you been able to see any wildlife in the ocean? Are you able to hear them at night?
Liz G., 10, Illinois
Tim: There are birds everywhere out here. Down in the Southern Ocean, where I am now, huge birds called albatross follow the boat day and night, as well as lots of smaller birds. I have seen lots of dolphins, a few whales, and some sea turtles.
Q: Hi, Tim! Aren't you afraid something will happen while you are sleeping? By the way, you're very brave!
Nicole Z., 11, California
Tim: Thanks! I don't think that I am all that brave! I do worry a bit about something happening while I am resting. If I am close to land where there are a lot of boats, I don't sleep a lot, and when I do, it's just for short periods of time. If I have to sleep where I think there may be ships, I use my radar alarm to wake me if a ship comes near.
Q: Dear Mr. Kent,
We are following you in our classroom, and now we have made a map with
sailboats so that we can follow you and the other sailors.
We have a couple of questions for you:
1. Did you run into any bad weather while you were sailing?
2. How do you know how much food you will need? And where do you get your
3. Are you excited to reach England? What will you do there?
We look forward to hearing from you because we are wondering about your
Your friends at St. Mary's in Mayville, Wisconsin
Deb S., 12, Wisconsin
Tim: 1) Yes, I have had a little bit of bad weather, but that is to be expected.
I have access to weather-forecasting information that should allow me to
avoid some bad weather, but storms always comeeven where you live!
2) I figure out how long I might be out here, and plan for a breakfast, lunch,
and dinner for each day. I eat cereal for breakfastI bring both hot and
cold cerealsoups or a sandwich for lunch, and a hot meal for dinner. I
bring everything pre-packaged, so it is a snap to prepare and eat. I also
bring lots of fresh fruit such as apples and orangesand veggies like carrots. I don't have any refrigeration, so those things only last a couple of weeks. 3) I'm very excited. As I write this, I have under 600 miles to go. When I get there, I will have less than a week and a half to prepare for the next leg, which will be much longer than this oneperhaps over 40 days. So I have to load the boat with food, fix some things that are not working, get
my clothes all setI will be both very cold (in the North Atlantic) and
very hot (crossing the equator) on this leg, so clothing is important
and generally preparing the boat. There will not be much time for
Q: How do you wash your clothes?
Alexis W., 8, Missouri
Tim: Alexis, I put my dirty clothes in a laundry bag and wash them when I get
Q: How are you doing over there? Have you had some rough experiences?
Nicolas E., 9, Nebraska
Tim: I have not had really bad weather yet, so I am doing just great!
Hi Tim...I work with Sally O'Brien who is married to your cousin Paul O'Brien, and I found out about your voyage through her. What is it like sailing at night on the open ocean, and how do you avoid other vessels in shipping lanes, etc.? I realize that the ocean is pretty darn big and chances are that you won't encounter other vessels, but you must cross some shipping lanes on your route. You aren't making landfall very often...can you carry enough water and provisions to last from one stop to the next? Bon voyage!
Deana S., California
Tim: I have two things that help me avoid other boats. One is my radar unit,
which has an alarm that I can set to warn off other vessels coming close.
The other is an Active Radar Transponder. What this does is detect radar on
other boats, and send out a signal that makes my boat seem much larger than
it is on the other boat's radar. And yes, I carry everything that I need to
get from one stop to the next.
Hi. My name is Shaina and I am in Ms. Svenson's class. We were reading about you in Scholastic News the other day, and we saw how we could e-mail you. We were so excited and we kept asking Ms. Svenson crazy questions that she wouldn't be able to answer, so she wrote your address up on the board for us to take home. These are a couple of my questions I have for you: Were you really excited before going on this trip? Is it scary being out on the ocean all by yourself with no one to talk to? I know that I love sailing but I don't think I love it enough to go ALL BY MYSELF. You must be really brave. Have you faced any storms along the way? And the last question I have for you is...are you having fun sailing?
Thanks for letting me ask you some questions.
Shaina L., 12, Massachusetts
Tim: No. I'm not scared being out here by myself. When there is a lot of wind, I sometimes wish that I had a crewmate to help me with the sails, but I try to anticipate things so that I don't have a hard time. I don't consider myself to be particularly braveI get scared too! There have
not been any big storms yet, but I am sure that I will see some big ones before it is over. And some of the time, the sailing is a real blast. I love it!
What are the four cardinal directions?
Robert J., 12, California
Tim: The four cardinal directions are North, South, East, and West.
Does your ship have a motor or do you sail?
Daniel E., 10, New Jersey
Tim: That's a good question. There is a small motor in the boat, but at the
beginning of the race, we put a seal on the propeller shaft so that none of
the sailors can use their engine. This is a sailing race, and we are only
supposed to use the sails.
Do you have a TV on your boat?
Lauren S., 10, New Jersey
Tim: No. No TV on the boat at all!
Do you have a computer a zon your boat?
Amanda, B, 10, New Jersey
Tim: Yes. I am typing on my laptop computer right now. I am connected to the
e-mail system in four different ways, so that I can make sure that I have
contact with shore. I also use my computer to look at electronic charts and
weather maps. It is a very valuable tool on the boat!
Hello. This is Joy. We have a work sheet
in the fifth grade that we are doing about you, so please give me
some answers! What do you think is one of the worst parts of the
Joy E., 11, Michigan
Tim: Joy, there are several things that are difficult.
Obviously, sailing in storms is hard. The wind is very loud, which
makes things seem a bit scarier than they really are, and the
motion of the boat is very violent at those times, so that's hard.
Having things break on the boat is hard, because it is not always
easy to fix something in the middle of the ocean. I need to be
able to improvise at those times, to be able to find something
else on the boat that I can use to make the repair.
But honestly, the worst part of the race is being apart from my
daughters, Whitney (9) and Alison (8). We e-mail back and forth
and talk sometimes on the satellite phone, but it's nothing like
the hugs and kisses I get when I'm with them!
How do you check on the weather?
Susie I., 6, Nebraska
Tim: I use the Internet to check the weather. I have a
weather program on my boat called MaxSea. I can pick an area that
I want a weather forecast on, and I e-mail that information to
We are third-graders in Grand Rapids, Michigan. We want to
know how you will get food for all those months? Are you going
to catch any live fish to eat?
Marg H., 8, Michigan
Tim: Marg, believe it or not, my boat goes too fast to make
it a good fishing boat. Maybe when I am in the doldrums, where
there is not a lot of wind, I'll try to catch some fish. Right
now the boat is going 15 knots, way faster than fish like to swim
at dinner time. So I bring all of my food with me. I have cereal
with powdered milk for breakfast (there is no refrigerator on
my boat, so I make my milk as I need it), sandwiches or soup for
lunch, and freeze-dried meals for dinner. The freeze-dried meals
were invented for mountain climbers and hikers who needed
lightweight meals that are both nourishing and tasty.
I boil two cups of water, pour in contents of the meal bag, cover
it, wait 10 minutes, and presto! A complete dinner! Last night
I had a tuna casserole and tonight I am having beef Stroganoff.
The meals are quite delicious. I also have a lot of apples and
oranges on the boat that I eat for snacks, some small candy bars,
and of course some chocolate chip cookiesI can't go anywhere
We are an eighth-grade math class. We would like to know how
you named your boat?
Cindy T., 13, North Carolina
Tim: I really like the name of my boat, so I am glad that
you asked about it. Many people who have written about sailing
alone around the world call it "the Everest of sailing," after
Mount Everest, the world's tallest mountain, known for how hard
and dangerous it is to climb. Mount Everest is vertical, or tall,
while the ocean is relatively flat, or horizontal. I put the two
together for EVEREST HORIZONTAL. Incidentally, about 1,200 people
have climbed Mount Everest; only about 120 have sailed solo around
Have you seen any sharks?
Matt R., 12, Missouri
Tim: No, no sharks. I have seen some whales and lots of
dolphins, but no sharks. I love the dolphins, they come and play
with the boat, swimming alongside, diving under the boat and jumping
up on the other side. Seeing them always makes me laugh and smile.
Old sailors say that if dolphins come to play with your boat at
the beginning of a trip, it means that you will have a good voyage.
How long have you had your boat?
Mike T., 11, Michigan
Tim: I bought the boat in May of 2001, so I have had it
for a little over a year and a half. In that time, I have sailed
it near San Francisco, where it was when I bought it; on Lake Michigan
near where I live in Milwaukee; on Lake Superior and on Lake Huron;
and on the Atlantic Ocean.
Have you ever been in trouble with your boat?
Antonette L., 10, Michigan
Tim: I have gotten into a bit of trouble with it a couple
of times, when small storms, called squalls, came up unexpectedly.
Things get pretty exciting for a few minutes then, trying to get
big sails down so that the boat can sail more easily. Other than
that, I try to foresee what might happen and prepare in advance.
Can you use an electronic weather watcher to help you avoid
squalls like the one that blew your spinnaker apart?
Dr. Sally Stueber Merrill, Chesterton, Indiana, teacher at
Whiting High School and Middle School
Tim: Actually, the wind that was blowing at that time was
not all that strong; it was a problem with the autopilot that
caused that particular disaster. But the answer to whether I can
"see" squalls coming is yes. You can pick them up in radar. The
squalls are so dense with rain that they appear on the radar,
so I do have advance notice that they are coming.
I saw a picture of your boat in Junior Scholastic. Where do
Michelle K., 12, Vermont
Tim: There are two bunks on the boat, one on each side.
I try to sleep in the one on the side of the boat toward the wind,
so that my weight helps keep the boat level even when I am sleeping.
I also catch a lot of catnaps on the wide, curved bench that I
am sitting on now in the middle of the boat at my navigation station.
Another great catnap spot is in the cockpit under a big, hard
awning called a dodger. I can sit out there in the air without
rain or spray bothering me, and get a little sleep as well.
What do you think has been your biggest challenge in achieving
your goal in life? What do you think your biggest challenge will
be on your trip?
Bridget H., 12, Vermont
Tim: Bridget, I have several goals in life; this race is
a big one! The biggest challenge in getting this boat to the start
of the race was raising money to do all of the preparation work.
Most of the other boats are sponsored by big companies. For example,
one of my friends in the race, Brad Van Liew, is sailing a boat
called Tommy Hilfiger, named after the clothing company that is
sponsoring him. I don't have a sponsor, so raising money is hard.
On the trip itself, storms will be a big challenge, breakdowns
will be a big challenge, and loneliness will be a big challenge.
I think the most important thing is to deal with things one at
a time, even when a lot seems to be going wrong. It is the same
way I try to deal with things on shore!
Do you ever get seasick? I know I would. Also, did you make
your boat or buy it?
Mikala F., 12, Vermont
Tim: Mikala, fortunately I do not get seasick very easily.
The very first time I went sailing, I got seasick. I remember
it very well. I was 11 years old and all I wanted to do was get
back to land. But I liked sailing, and went again and did not
have a problem. Some people have a big problem with seasickness,
but most people get used to the motion very quickly.
I do not have the talent to build a wonderful boat like this. I bought it used.
I'm very excited for you! I'm curious about what happens to
you when you reach each destination. Is there someone there from
the Around Alone organization to coordinate your stay and your
visits with kids? Will you visit schools? Will your girls get
to come visit you at any point?
Manon S., 13, Wisconsin
Tim: Around Alone and their educational people are arranging schools
for me to visit on the stopovers. I'm really looking forward to
it. I am hoping that my daughters will be able to join me at most
of the stops.
The seventh-and-eighth grade class at St. Mary's School in
Mayville, Wisconsin (outside of Horicon), would like to ask you:
How did you as a person hold on to your dream of sailing around
the world for so long? Have you had other dreams?
Ms. Silver's Social Studies Class, Wisconsin
Tim: I have wanted to go sailing around the world since
I was in high school. For a long time, it seemed like an impossible
idea for someone from the Midwest. But one day, some friends and
I were talking and started to list the things that needed to be
done in order for this to happen, and it started to seem possible.
Two years later, here I am! My other big dream was to be a father,
and I have two wonderful daughters. I'm a really fortunate guy.
Do you cook on a mini grill?
Tyler J., 8, Minnesota
Tim: I cook on a little stove called a Sea-Swing, because
it moves with the motion of the boat. I don't have a grill on
What kind of animals have you seen?
John S., 9, Minnesota
Tim: I have seen a few whales and a lot of dolphins.
Have you passed along your interest in sailing to your daughters,
and how do they feel about the journey you have just embarked
Debbie M., Illinois
Tim: Whitney and Alison grew up sailing on weekends and
weeknights with their mom and me. Two years ago, Whitney got her
first boat, an Optimist dinghy, and started taking sailing lessons.
Alison got her own Optimist this year. They really like the independence
of sailing their own boats. The girls also race and cruise on
Quicksilver, the boat that we have in Milwaukee. And of course
they have been sailing on EVEREST HORIZONTAL. The girls are excited
about this race, and like me, do not like the time apart. But
before the school year is over, I will be home, and boy will
we enjoy that!
Have you seen an octopus yet?
Justin B., 10, Ontario
Tim: Justin, the octopus lives way down in the ocean. I
am not going to see one during this race. But I saw one once when
I was scuba divinga little one, only a foot and a half long.
What is your favorite thing to do when you're bored?
Joey S., 10, Ontario
Tim: When I am bored, I pick up a book or a magazine
and read. Reading is a sure cure for boredom. Books take you to
places you can't even imagine. I love to read. It's how I came
up with the idea to do this race.