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Boating

Leg 1 of the Volvo Ocean Race

The first leg of the Volvo Ocean race is really five different races rolled into one. The seven boats left warm and sunny Alicante, Spain, heading west across the choppy Mediterranean before sailing through the Straits of Gibraltar and out into the mighty Atlantic Ocean. Next they turned south along the coast of West Africa in moderately steady winds until they neared the equator. Then it was time to sail west across the spooky equatorial area of wind-sucking storms known as the Doldrums, over to a small island off Brazil, which they rounded like a buoy.

Frostbite sailors find best sailing of the year

Just as most sailors have hauled out their boats for the winter, the racing season is heating up for the most intrepid.     The Frostbite Races, sponsored by Annapolis Yacht Club, kicked off the 2014-’15 winter sailing season Nov. 8 with a bang — actually an air horn. Some 98 sailboats entered the Sunday afternoon race, held just off the U.S. Naval Academy seawall. With crews of three to five people each, at least 400 sailors were out on the Severn River for the inaugural Frostbite.

The Volvo Ocean Race is on its round-the-world blitz again

The Volvo Ocean Race 2014-’15 began October 11 and finishes next June in Gothenburg, Sweden, by way of the ends of the earth.     By then, the seven boats will have sailed 38,739 miles from Alicante, Spain, visiting 11 ports on five continents.     Newport, Rhode Island, their seventh port, brings them closest to us, early next May.     The seven entries come from around the world — United Arab Emirates, China, Turkey and four from Europe — but not from the Americas.

U.S. Powerboat Show back to its former glory

The United States Powerboat Show is back. Not that it went anywhere or skipped a year. It’s been an October happening at the Annapolis City waterfront for the last 42 years. For year 43, it returns with its former size and glory.

I built the General Lee in less than a week — and raced it, too

I built a boat in less than a week.         Ten 11- to 14-year-olds at Calvert Marine Museum’s boat-building camp spent five days building, gluing, hammering and painting skiff-like canoes this past summer. On the sixth day, we raced.     In our work we were guided by veteran boat builders. We used no power tools; we did the work with claw hammers, lots of Liquid Nails glue and real nails.

Great Schooner Race, Volvo Ocean Race set sail

Sailboats, it’s arguable, were the first technological wonder to shrink the wide world to a global village. They’re still doing it. As the U.S. Sailboat Show ended its 45th encampment in Annapolis, two great openwater races demonstrate the lasting power of wind and maritime ingenuity.

Wooden boats require constant maintenance, and for the Mary Lois, it’s a family affair

Even a landlubber could tell this boat was different. Sitting on the hard at Herrington Harbour North this spring, it turned heads. It was old, it was wood — and something more. The lineage that defined that something more would stump even a sailing expert.     For more than 60 years, this custom-designed and home-built wooden boat, the Mary Lois by name, has sailed the Bay, owned by the same family who designed and built it. The Egelis are a dynasty of world-famous painters who planted their roots in Maryland almost 100 years ago.

This year’s U.S. Sailboat Show has something for you

The newest thing about this year’s United States Sailboat Show is innovative, but not exactly new.     For the first time in its 45-year history, the annual Annapolis sailing extravaganza will debut Brokerage Cove, a section of previously owned yachts for sale. Offering a used-boat option was such a success in its debut at last year’s U.S. Powerboat Show that organizers expanded it to the sailboat show as well.

The drama of big-boat sailing scaled affordably

Some Bay-area sailors own their own yachts and race in spirited regattas, all without spending thousands of dollars — or even getting wet.     Model yacht clubs offer the drama of big-boat sailing on a much smaller, more affordable scale. Enthusiasts take small-scale sailing quite seriously and hold competitive regattas.

The fishing is great; the ­dangers of hypothermia grave

Finally I had to face it; with morning temperatures in the low 50s, socks are a necessity. With regret, I moved my fishing shorts and warm-weather shirts into winter storage last week. Hauling my insulated long-sleeved undershirts and heavyweight long pants from the back of the closet broke the final link with summer. It’s going to be pretty much a cold-weather game from here on out.