Gear

2012 Holiday Gift Guide

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Think your sailing sweetheart, your old man or your competitive kid has everything they need and more for getting out on the water? There's always something new on the horizon and the editors at SAIL come to your rescue with practical, fun and stylish new items the helmsperson in your life won't be able to resist.

Sweet Sailing $

For sailors on your list with a sweet tooth, click on over to Harbor Sweets, which recently introduced a new Christmas Calendar and Nantucket-style woven basket ornament, both of which—of course—contain morsels of the company’s signature chocolate. For traditionalists, check out the company’s trademark Sweet Sloops, which are made of almond butter crunch with a white chocolate mainsail and a jib. Talk about holiday decadence! From $19.95. Harbor Sweets

 

A True Sailor’s Belt $

The new D-Shackle webbing belt from Sailormade not only incorporates a real working d-shackle, but the shackle is interchangeable with both navy and red webbing straps, giving you, in essence, two belts in one. A casual take on the company’s leather D-Shackle belt, the webbing version is the perfect thing for a day out on the water and could even double as a sail tie in a pinch! $86. Sailormade

Kites for All! $$$

Are you intrigued by kiteboarding, but don’t feel you can surmount the brutal learning curve that is part and parcel of getting up on a board? Never fear! The folks at Wingit Kite-Boat-Systems have created the Paracat, a kite-powered multihull that makes it easy to fly a kite. Available in 12ft and 13ft 6in models, the boats have 12ft of beam and can accommodate two or even three sailors. Although these boats lack the blistering speeds of boards, they still have more than enough get-up-and-go to impress friends and family! From $6,500. Wingit

 

A Year of Sailing $

On every SAILor's wish list: the new SAIL calendar with a gorgeous photograph for each month of 2013. Whether you're dreaming at work, or after a long night of answering kids' homework questions, keep your sailing plans alive every day of the year. $12.95 SAIL store

 

 

The Gift of Dryness $

The perfect gift for the sailor who has everything, Ultralite towels from PackTowl solve the age-old problem of how to dry off when everything in your sea bag is soaked. Made from a poly/nylon blend, Ultralite towels are available in a variaty of sizes weighing as little as 3.1 ounces, absorb twice their weight in water and can be wrung out almost completely dry. Originally created for the backpacking crowd, they come with their own stuff sacks and even have a convenient snap loop so you can securely air them out on a lifeline. From $13.95. Cascade Designs

 

Fancy Feet $$

In its 2012 line, Sebago tackled the classic boat shoe and added its signature high-quality construction to create a new line of handsewn boat shoes that can be worn on deck, at the club and everywhere in between. The uppers are constructed with a single piece of full-grain leather that has been hand-sewn to the sturdy rubber, slip-resistant, non-marking sole. The rawhide laces feed through non-corrosive brass eyelets and the detailed stitching creates a truly classy look.

The line is expansive, and we especially liked the men’s Grinders and the women’s Spinnakers, which add a discreet tribal look to give the classic dockside some flair. Grinders $90; Spinnakers $95

Warmer than Wool $$

Don't forget to keep those stylish feet warm. On the water, the instant my feet get cold, the rest of my body’s a lost cause of chilled misery. Knowing this, my collection of wool socks and waterproof boots is extensive, but their warming capacity seemed pedestrian once I discovered Thermacell Heated Insoles, the newest in warming technology from Thermacell. These wireless, remote-controlled foot warmers fit into any footwear and can be adjusted to your desired warmth using a remote control. The water-resistant, durable design adds cushion and comfort to your shoe, unlike the chemical inserts that can heat up dramatically and then get bunched beneath your toes. Thermacells hold their charge for up to five hours and take three hours to fully recharge. For a video of the Thermacell, click here.
$129.99, Thermacell

Calling All Sailor-Fishermen (and Women)

Patagonia's River Salt Jacket is designed for fishing in the elements--like Nor'easter elements--and will work just as well without the fishing rod to keep chilly salty spray off you. Made of four-layer wader fabric, a waterproof and breathable barrier and durable water repellent finish, it's not for your your sunny, summer day. But with its corrosion-resistant zipper, watertight wrist cuffs, extra-long hem and vented hood, this is an excellent outer layer for getting out there when the weather wants to keep you inside. $349. Patagonia

 

Cool and Comfy $$

If a sportboat racer were to design a pair of dream sailing shorts, they’d undoubtedly look much like these Zhik Boardies. These fashionable shorts feature stylish detailing on the outside and are silky smooth on the inside, with a drawstring waist and enough pockets to stow all of your essentials while on deck. Made of 100 percent nylon, they’re lightweight, quick-drying and available in a variety of colors. $59. Zhik USA

Waterproof Gear Bag $$

Finally, there’s a gear bag that’s both rugged enough to keep your belongings safe and dry, and compact enough to satisfy a weight-conscious skipper. Ronstan’s 55-liter Dry Sailing Bag is made of durable leak-proof materials and includes a fold-and-roll closure to protect your gear. With its hefty handle and padded shoulder straps, you can carry it as either a duffle or a backpack, while the mesh outer pocket is perfect for stowing a water bottle. Best of all, it’s bright red and will help you stand out in a regatta crowd. $58.45. Ronstan

 

Stylish and Buoyant $$

Specifically designed for use on water, the high-quality glare-free polarized lenses on Gill’s new floating sunglasses have both a hydrophobic outer lens coating that sheds water and an “oleophobic” layer that helps repel fingerprints and sunblock. The frames are made of a low-density, lightweight, tough and flexible material for maximum buoyancy and have been molded in a wrap-around design so they stay anchored to your face, whatever the weather. Soft pads that cushion the temple and a neat integral mold for the bridge of the nose provide extra comfort and grip. From $70. Gill North America

Holiday Decadence $

What could be better on a cold wintry night than a slice of rum cake? How about a slice of rum cake and a warm cup of coffee? Tortuga Rum Cakes has now teamed up with Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee to provide everything you need for your island-inspired holiday dessert. Based on a four-generations-old family recipe, Tortuga rum cakes must be tried to be believed—and yes, they include plenty of rum! Blue Mountain Coffee (from Jamaica’s blue mountains) makes the perfect complement. From $32. Tortuga Rum Cake Co.

 

We Have You Covered $

If you have a true SAIL fan in your life, they'll want to show their true colors from deck to dock and around the block in our stylish SAIL hats. In gray and navy, this is a staple in all of the editors' wardrobes. Never leave home without it. $14.95 SAIL store

 

iPhone Down! $$$

There are waterproof iPhone cases, and then there’s the iGill, which takes waterproof iPhones to a whole new level. Constructed from clear high-strength polycarbonate with marine-grade stainless steel hardware and a six-button digital “diver interface,” the iGill is rated to a depth of 130 feet and has its own depth and temperature sensor. When integrated with iGill’s free app, it not only converts your phone into an underwater camera and compass, but turns it into full-on dive computer that can graphically record everything from depths to dive notes. Amazing! $329. iGills

 

iPhone Case Bottle Opener $

While we're on the subject of iPhones, this case has a whole other usefulness. Really, words fail us. We are awestruck in the presence of such sublime genius. An iPhone case that doubles as a bottle opener, the Opena does the best job of wedding two disparate products since that one guy got his chocolate mixed up in the other guy’s peanut butter. (Or was it peanut butter on his chocolate…) 

Don’t think, don’t ask questions, don’t do anything, just run to your iPhone and order an Opena (available in black or white, as if that really matters) as fast as your fingers allow. Your texts will never be the same. $39.95. Annex Products

 

Headphone Hassle Be Gone $

When packing a gear bag for any length of sailing excursion, sailors have to be conscientious of the space and weight they’re bringing on board, so we’re always stoked to discover new space-savers. I like to pack a pair of headphones, and they always seem to get fouled in my gear. That’s why The Nest Earbud Protector from Digital Innovations was such a no-brainer. To use this clever piece of hockey-puck shaped silicone, simple tuck your earbuds into the center, wrap the cord around, and fold the edges up for clean and hassle-free stowage. It’s a simple item, and something you’ll use both on and off your boat. It also falls into the category of things I wish I’d thought of. $10, Digital Innvoations

 

A Model Gift $$$

There’s nothing like a ship model to evoke maritime thoughts on a blustery off-season day, and few companies practice the art of modeling at a higher level than SD Model Makers of San Diego, California. The company recently expanded its line to include everything from classics like the USS Constitution and the schooner America to Joshua Slocum’s famed Spray. You can also order custom contemporary designs. Unlike the cheesy boats sold in seaside gift shops, SD’s models are hand-carved from kiln-dried mahogany and accurate to the tiniest detail. Each model is mounted on brass pedestals and a mahogany baseboard with a brass nameplate. From $785. SD Model Makers

 

Toe Technology $$

The Sperry SeaRacer Boot has everything you've been seeking: waterproof construction, insulated hdrophobic mesh and lining, odor reduction treatment on all materials touching the foot, a grippy sole for wet or dry conditions and something Sperry calls "adaptive wave siping technology" that disperses water to prevent slipping. They're also lightweight, soft and flexible for easy movement and comfort even with shorter socks. A bungee cord at the top ensures heat stays in and water out. $180

 

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