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Sailing sailor

To the Editor:

Kudos to Ben Burns and the Grosse Pointe News for throwing a spotlight (March 6 FYI, "Solitary sailor") on former Grosse Pointer and Great Lakes sailor Tim Kent.

Kent who, aboard his Jim Antrim designed Open 50 named Everest Horizontal, has a strong hold on second place in his call in the 2002-2003 Around Alone sailing event.

I had the pleasure of helping deliver this amazing boat through the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway to the eastern seaboard back in the fall of 2001. Then, after Tim completed his 2,000 mile solo qualifying sail to the island of Faial, I flew to the Azores and helped him bring the boat back across the Atlantic to Newport, RI for the start of the race.

For the previous year and a half, Tim had put his heart and soul into preparing for this event. He had kept his job as long as possible but had been forced to give that up. He had emptied his life savings and (to the chagrin of his accountant) his 401k. He had sold his house, his car, and anything else he could think of. He had hired a sports marketing firm to help him find sponsorship, he had begged and borrowed from friends and strangers alike, but there was no money left and no major sponsors.

As we approached Newport, Tim wasn't sure he would even be able to make the start of the race for lack of funds, but his spirit was indomitable.

I kept thinking that it just wasn't fair that a man could work so hard to achieve his dream to have it all crumble in the waning moments. There had to be a magic wand somewhere that would wave over him.

That wand never did wave, but Tim made the start on a broken shoestring budget through the support of everyday folks who anteed up $100 here and $100 there.

Everest Horizontal Education is partnered with Scholastic magazine to provide coverage of the race to kindergarten through 12th-grade students in classrooms around the world. It is a 501c(3) not-for-profit organization.

Tim may not be representing a local club, but he is out there on a world stage showing what Great Lakes sailors are made of.

If you would like to help him get through the rest of this race (there are still thousands of miles to be sailed), please consider sending a tax-deductible donation to Everest Horizontal Education Inc., 15415 Woodbridge Road, Brookfield, WI 53205.

What I learned from Tim Kent is that tenacity, vision, hard work and perseverance can more than make up for those times when luck just isn't going our way.

Elisa Keys Stroh

Elisa Keys Stroh
March 13, 2003

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