Volume 14, Issue 15 ~ April 13 - April 19, 2006

Riding with the Volvo Ocean Race

Baltimore and Annapolis bustle with activities

by Kat Bennett

The Doldrums have been passed, and all the boats are speeding up as they hit the Westerly Trade Winds on Leg 5 of the Volvo Ocean Race.

Movistar shone reaching Fernando de Noronha first, nabbing 3.5 points and moving into Chesapeake Country with second place overall. ABN AMRO ONE was second to that scoring gate and has since overtaken the fleet on the race to Baltimore. ABN AMRO TWO may have broken its jinx and now sails almost parallel to ABN AMRO ONE. Pirates of the Caribbean battles with Brasil 1 over third position, while Ericsson brings up the rear.

As the racers crossed the Equator, pollywogs were initiated into the Order of Neptune. Both Movistar and Pirates reported celebrating the centuries-old crossing-the-equator ceremonies. The rites of each initiation are kept secret, as tradition demands, but the boats forwarded a snapshot of King Neptune as well as a brief glimpse of the new Shellbacks.

ABN AMRO TWO, the last boat past Fernando de Noronha, discovered and dispatched a sailor’s jinx, a rabbit on board the race boat, in the guise of the Nesquick bunny. Racer Sebastien Josse ripped the smiling rabbit off a tin of the hot chocolate and sacrificed it to the sea. Perhaps his jinx-breaker worked, because shortly afterward, as they raced to the Chesapeake, a rainbow opened in the sky.

The racers are expected to pass our way between April 16 and 18, when a myriad of festivities begins:

• Registration closes April 18 for the 10K Governor’s Bay Bridge Run held Sun. May 7. Runners catch a bus at 7am from Sandy Point State Park to the starting line on Kent Island for an 8am start. The race has a 3,000-runner limit, so interested runners should sign up with the Annapolis Striders quickly: 410-268-1165.

• Through April 30, submit entries to the Finding Treasure Poetry Contest. Win awards in three categories: children 12 and under, youth 13-18; adults. at Annapolis Bookstore, 41 Randall St., Annapolis: 410-280-1821.

• On Sun. April 30, sail in — or just sit back and watch — the Ellicott City/Greater Crofton Rotary Regatta. Port Covington, 2601 Port Covington Dr., Baltimore. $600/enter: 410-925-2410.

• Fri. May 5 is the 2006 Annapolis Salute to the Sailors of the Volvo Ocean Race to honor the Open 70 racers, families and crews. Local musical talent includes Them Eastport Oyster Boys, The Remnants, Matt McConville, Dean Rosenthal, NonFiction, Ben’s Bones and Naked Blue. Hosted by the Eastport Yacht Club and the Severn Sailing Association. Grab one of the few remaining tickets online or onsite from 8am-6pm daily at Fawcett Boat Supply at 110 Compromise St. and at 1811 Virginia St. near Chinquapin Round Rd., Annapolis. Event at Eastport Yacht Club, $25; rsvp: 410-263-0415.

• On Sat. May 6, find hidden treasure at The Great Annapolis Treasure Hunt. Teams compete for prizes — including a three-night adventure aboard a luxury catamaran. Get your first clue when you register early (contest is limited to 75 teams). Benefits the Box of Rain Foundation. 11:30am-7pm at downtown Annapolis. $88/team: 410-280-1821.

• On Sat. May 6, aspiring ship builders roll up their sleeves for the first-ever Sikaflex Challenge. Wood, caulk gun and 12 cartridges of Sikaflex 291 per boat provided; builders bring sawhorses and all hand tools (saber saw, cordless drill, tape measure, pliers and a power cord). Only 20 two-person teams can compete so register early. noon-7pm at City Dock, Annapolis. $50/team; rsvp: 410-268-2114.

• Sat. May 6, dress up for the Best Dressed Pirate Contest held after the treasure hunt. Winners receive two free tickets to Watermark’s Pirate’s Den Gala aboard the Harbor Queen that Saturday evening. Cruisers also dress up as pirates for the evening of music and dance. Cruise from 7:30-10:30pm at Annapolis City Dock: $38: 410-268-7601 x104.

• Sat. May 6, young sailors ages 11-15 from the U.S., Holland, Brazil and Spain compete in the Volvo Ports Optimist Regatta. Coordinated by the Chesapeake Ocean Race: 410-212-1879.

• On Sun. May 7 don your walking shoes for the 2006 Chesapeake Bay Bridge Walk. Most walkers complete the 4.5-mile walk along the eastbound span of the Bay Bridge in two hours. Walk begins 9am. Shuttles to the bridge begin boarding at 8:30am at Anne Arundel Community College, Navy Marine Corps Stadium and Chesapeake Business Park in Stevensville: 877-229-7726.

• On Sun. May 7, in the Pirate Pet Parade, join Capt. Billy Baye and his sidekick Hopping Tom as pirate pets dress up for prizes. Sponsored by Paws Pet Boutique. noon at Annapolis City Dock: 410-268-7601 x104.

© COPYRIGHT 2004 by New Bay Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved.