Dear McKenzie: I grew up sailing with my parents, at first on a day sailing boat, and then a cruising boat. I liked it because it was beautiful on the water, and the boats had ropes and knots and gear.

Also, it was very good for my asthma. I was allergic to trees, flowers, grass, in addition to smoke, perfume, certain foods, cats, dogs. Sometimes I have joked that I was allergic to land! So being at sea made it much easier to breathe. And remember, this was years before there were any medications, at all, for home use, so there was no way to treat an asthma attack, except for desperately trying to breathe. So being on the water was better for me.

When I was in my teens, I read the books of Bernard Moitessier, Joshua Slocum, Francis Chichester, Robin Knox-Johnston, each of whom had sailed solo around the world, the latter two non-stop. I wondered if I could ever be smart enough, strong enough, or brave enough to ever try to do a solo voyage, not even around the world, but just for a few days along a coast, or maybe, for a great adventure, across an ocean. Never when I was growing up did I imagine sailing around the world alone, that was just beyond any imagining. And of course that just goes to show that your dreams, and your capabilities, and your confidence, or lack thereof, will change for the better over time as you grow up.

Question submitted by McKenzie, age 11, via News-O-Matic