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Boating

Sailors ­battle winter monsoons and South Pacific trade winds in Leg 4 of the Volvo Ocean Race

When Joni Mitchell wrote the curious lyric, But clouds got in my way in her haunting melody “Both Sides Now,” she could have been talking about the Volvo Ocean Race. From Spain to Capetown … Capetown to Abu Dhabi … Abu Dhabi to Sanya … then the 5,264 nautical mile Leg 4 challenge from China to New Zealand, the race has been an endless struggle to navigate around and through the clouds.     The oceans make the weather on the planet earth, and clouds are born in that nursery. So are the winds.

For Leg 3 of the Volvo Ocean Race, navigators had to break the 4,500-nautical-mile run into manageable pieces

Before leaving the dock, Brunel navigator Andrew Cape christened the 4,642-mile third leg of the Volvo Ocean Race, from Abu Dhabi to Sanya, China, the “s••••y leg.”     “We will encounter a lot of fishing boats,” he wrote. “Everywhere along the coast of India, Vietnam and Malaysia there are fishing nets and lines in which we can become snared.”

Volvo Ocean Racers hang on as one boat goes down in Leg 2

Leg 2 of the Volvo Ocean Race, a 6,125-mile slog from South Africa to Abu Dhabi, was a treacherous sail. The fleet of seven boats left Cape Town with Table Mountain wrapped in a fog hat and 40-knot winds creating utter chaos.     “That start was some of the ­hairiest sailing we’ve seen,” wrote Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing’s Matt Knighton.

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.