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Boating

In simplicity, I find plenty

It was late October when I launched my kayak from Jackson Landing into the Patuxent River. I wondered what I would find during the lull between migrations. The osprey had already settled into their South American winter quarters, the ducks and swans were still on their way from northern shores. September’s abundance of wildflowers had faded; only remnants of purple asters remained, the rest gone crunchy and brown.

10 products to restore luster and arouse envy

When winter abandons Chesapeake Country, it leaves many a boat looking like an old haunted mansion. Now, boaters are full-swing in chores they would have done in March — if they could have.     My Catalina 34 is my home, so I’ve learned how to avoid that haunted look. This back-to-the-water season, I’m sharing my shopping list of 10 cleaning products to help you bring a glow back to your boat and make your neighbors jealous.

Is it the captain or the electronics?

My whole life I have believed that the skill of the craftsman was more important than the fanciness of the tools.     I reached this conclusion in college when many of my classmates bought $100 slide rules. I got better grades with my $20 model.

Learn what you need to know, take what you need to have

If you don’t have some type of watercraft — be it canoe, kayak, skiff, sailboat, sailboard or motor yacht — you’ll miss out on enjoying our largest public playground: the vast, 4,500 square miles of the Chesapeake Bay.     A boat is your magic carpet for roaming the Bay and its tributaries while fishing, sailing, crabbing, clamming, oystering, photographing or cruising and paddling about in the natural beauty of the Chesapeake.

Jan Miles was bred to captain Maryland’s ­historic clipper ship

The man who grew up to be the captain of Pride of Baltimore II, one of the great tall ships of our age, started his sailing career in Annapolis in the late 1960s.     Jan Miles grew up in a family that sailed for fun, mostly overseas where his father was stationed as a foreign service officer. When the family retired to Annapolis, the teenage Jan had trouble adjusting to life in the states.     “My parents thought it would be good for me to take a year off to collect my wits,” Miles relates.

Frostbite sailors stay home

Not cold, wind nor snow deters Frostbite sailors. But ice does.     Most years, the Annapolis Yacht Cub’s Frostbite Sailboat Racing series would be in full swing.     Racers layer up for warmth and follow winter safety rules: no walking on the decks (risk of ice) and sufficient crew (at least three adults) to manage a rescue. The Yacht Club keeps a careful eye on the weather, ready to cancel if conditions appear too hazardous. A fleet of motorboats stands by.

Get help, for free, from techies smarter than you

As soon as I purchased my new skiff some three years ago, I had to have the latest and greatest fish-finder/GPS machine. I got it installed, but once I turned it on, problems followed. The software on my machine had some initial problems that were later corrected. Still, I needed to load a new version of the operating software.

It wasn’t so long ago that boating shifted from a way to earn a ­living to a sport and pastime

With sailing the rage all over the Chesapeake, waterfront communities organized sailing clubs, fleets and regattas for sport and competition.     The Annapolis Yacht Club — in our times embarking on a $10 million expansion — reorganized in the late 1930s, after World War I and the Great Depression nearly put the venerable club out of business. The club was founded in 1886 and thrived in the first decade of the new century with races and regattas for small sailboats, canoes and shells.

Three boys in the summer of 1940 try to salvage an abandoned skipjack

Around and about the Sailing Capital of America, pleasure sailing is a way of life.     Yet it’s a recent invention, relatively speaking.     It took hold in one community in the summer of 1940, when Paul McDonald was an admiring 10-year-old summering on the Chesapeake in Fairhaven, way down south in Anne Arundel County. The late McDonald’s memoir, written 69 years later, takes us back to that summer. *   *   *

Almost 100 years ago, peolpe were astounded to find such large fish

When Lester Trott, 95 years old this year, was born in Annapolis, the capital city had scarcely 9,000 residents.     Les and his family, which included two older brothers, lived for a time in Eastport on Duvall’s Cove (or Well’s Cove), swimming in the clear waters of Spa Creek and trapping muskrats to sell their hides for pocket money. They netted big eight-inch-plus blue crabs — called channel crabs because of their size — that had molted and were hiding in the thick grass growing in the shallows in front of their house.