So here it is, almost gift-giving time, and you’re fresh out of ideas for that favorite sailor in your life. We are here to help you procrastinators! Following are some ideas direct from the everyday sailing lives of SAIL’s editors that might be just the thing to keep your gifting on an even keel.
Luci Solar Lights
We first saw these on a friend’s boat and were instantly intrigued: A solar-powered, blow-up, LED light that inflates to about the size of a can of peanuts and can hang anywhere! When you don’t need it, simply deflate it and it flattens to about the size of a pancake. So cool! And then, the Luci string lights, 100-lumen LEDS on a cord (18 to 44 feet) that, when not in use, wrap around a storage hub that closes to something like a big hockey puck. Both charge quickly with a little solar love, and they can last up to 20 hours on a charge. We’ve used the inflatable light as a backup galley light—it has three settings for different levels of brightness and attaches with a snap to the fan hanging over the counter. And the string lights come out as the sun sets, draping over the boom (or whatever else works) and instantly turning the cockpit into a cozy European café. These are just two of the incredibly clever versions that can light up someone’s sailing life. $25-$70 at mpowerd.com and outdoor retailers like REI.
Showa Temres 282 Gloves
The catalogues and chandleries are full of sailing gloves of every description, but only a few will showcase these. No matter. These aren’t just for sailing, although they do that well. They’re also for working on your boat in the cold months. Tough, waterproof, and breathable, they have a fleece inner layer that keeps your hands cozy while you’re sanding the bottom or working on a winter project that requires you to be out in the elements. The gauntlet-like cuff covers that part of your wrist that always seems to slide into the open and catch all the cold. With grippy fingertips, you can grab and manipulate even small wet objects. Fishermen, lobstermen, boatbuilders, and boatyard workers depend on these bad boys—so why shouldn’t your hard-working favorite sailor? $25.99 from Showagroup.com and marine retailers like Landfall Navigation.
Standard Horizon Handheld VHF HX890
Yeah, we know. Who doesn’t go sailing without a smartphone, so why would you need a handheld VHF when you can just call? Well, in our experience, you can never have too many handheld VHFs. We keep one on the kitchen counter 24/7 to listen to NOAA weather every morning, whether we’re sailing or not. We keep one on the boat so that when we’re off on a dinghy excursion far afield, we have comms if we need them without worrying about dunking the smartphone. And of course they’re a backup—if limited range—to the big VHF. We take one on the small runabout, which doesn’t have a big VHF at all. And bottom line? We just like ’em and the way they connect us to the water life. Many manufacturers make them, we just happen to like this model, which also floats. Standardhorizon.com, $163 on Amazon.
Boat Electrics 101
Do the favorite sailors in your life really understand their boat’s electrical system, or do they just hope they do—or hope they never have to? Would they know how to troubleshoot a failure? Would they know how to assess whether their system—new or old—is safe and complies with ABYC and ISO standards? Whether they own a 30-year-old classic or the latest and greatest from the boat shows, the boatowner in your life can benefit from BoatHowTo’s Boat Electrics 101 online course. SAIL Contributing Editor Nigel Calder has teamed up with Jan. C. Athenstädt and Michael Hermann to offer a practical guide that helps boatowners avoid common mistakes, pitfalls, and dangers when assessing and working with these all-important systems. These experts developed the course because so much misinformation or incomplete information is out there about boat electrics. In 59 video lessons, they cover everything from the basics of electricity and charging systems to batteries and planning a rewiring. As of mid-December, the course was on sale for $199 at boathowto.com.
One of the very first cautions you hear when heading offshore is “don’t pack cotton,” and while it’s generally a good rule, the one exception we would make is for bunk socks. Who doesn’t appreciate a pair of designated, slipper-like socks to slide cold, damp feet into when coming off watch in the wee hours? They’re not technical or specialized gear, but they have earned their spot (next to gear orders of magnitude more expensive) in our must-have kit bags. A good option will have multiple layers and extend above the ankle (a fave among our editors are Heat Holders lounge socks: https://www.heatholders.com/collections/womens-original-socks/products/womens-feather-cuff-lounge-socks) Grips on the bottom are also a nice touch, so long as they don’t tempt sailors to wear them anywhere they could get wet. Socks might have a reputation for being a bland gift, but they will be invaluable on a cold night on the water. $3 and up from various retailers.
Adopt a Turtle!
Or…choose another great cause to which you can make a contribution in your sailor’s name. One of our favorites is The Turtle Hospital in Marathon, Florida, where for a $35 donation, you can “adopt” one of the hospital’s permanent residents who can’t be released back to the wild. Your money provides food and medicine for the turtle you choose, and you get a photo magnet, a biography and certificate adoption for “your” turtle, and email updates. Right now, five of the hospital’s permanent residents are part of this program: https://www.turtlehospital.org/adoptions/.
If you want your gift-giving to focus on humans instead, consider donating to the Maiden Factor, whose mission is to fundraise for and support community programs that help millions of girls around the world obtain an education. You can do that here: https://www.themaidenfactor.org/donate.
These are just two of the many worthy organizations that are doing great work, so donating in the name of your favorite sailor makes for an easy, worthwhile gift.
Subscribe to the Greatest Sailing Magazine!
And of course, we’d be remiss not to mention our personal favorite gift to sailors: another year with us! SAIL brings the best of the sailing life to your mailbox, with cruising news, DIY projects, charter tips, racing adventures, and more. And at just $20 for a year’s subscription, it’s an affordable way to stay in touch with expert opinions and community news. For the SAIL reader who’s already topped up their subscription, check out our SAIL-branded merch.