2011 Holiday Gift Guide

With the holidays looming, it’s time to start shopping for your favorite sailor. With ideas ranging from jewelry to deck gear, from clothing to electronics, SAIL’s holiday gift guide has something for everyone on your list.

The holidays are fast-approaching, and it's time to start shopping for your favorite sailor. With ideas ranging from jewelery to deck gear, from clothing to electronics, SAIL's holiday gift guide has something for everyone on your list.


Even in a world of increasingly tough electronics gear, the SeaLife Mini II camera stands out for its durability. Waterproof to a depth of 130 feet, it features a rubberized armored case so tough it can be run over by a Jeep. (The manufacturer has the video to prove it.) There is a wide selection of modes available to optimize your shots both above and below the water’s surface. The camera takes 9-megapixel images and includes a 2.4-inch LCD screen for reviewing videos and stills. $295 Sealife Cameras


The Storm 3-in-1 jacket from Cape Fear Sportswear includes a waterproof, windproof, breathable shell and a zip-out fleece liner that can be worn separately if desired. No more having to decide whether to give little Johnny new foul weather gear or a new ski parka! The jacket has sealed seams and reflective material on the piping around the chest, the arms and the hood. The hood can be rolled into the collar or removed completely and stowed in a hidden pocket. $259 Cape Fear Sportswear


You say your man doesn’t wear cufflinks? Maybe it’s time he did! For sailors in need of a fashion makeover, these sterling silver compass cufflinks from Ravi Ratan should be just the thing. Yes, these are real working compasses, with white compass cards floating in the cufflink bezel. Also available are port and starboard cufflinks and, of course, a number of different anchor designs. $275 Ravi Ratan


Designed for commercial fishermen at work in places like the Bering Sea, the Gage 105 Liter Shackleton Duffel Bag will keep your gear dry on even the toughest passage. Constructed from tough PVC tarpaulin fabric, the bag features welded seams and a combination Velcro/roll-top closure with compression straps to ensure it is completely waterproof. Additional compression straps on the top and sides allow it to be snugged down into a smaller package when only partially full. A pair of “hidden” backpack straps can be deployed when hauling your gear longer distances. $97 Grundens USA


Sailormade’s Brummel bracelets use the classic Brummel hook paired with New England Ropes custom cordage in a variety of models for both men and women. Each piece is hand-cast and assembled from either solid brass or bronze in the United States. Made by sailors for sailors, this holiday season Sailormade will donate 10 percent of your purchase to benefit Sailors For The Sea, an organization dedicated to educating and engaging the boating community in the worldwide protection of the oceans. This holiday season, SAIL e-newsletter subscribers also receive 10% off the Brummel Bracelet’s list price by simply going online and entering the promotion code: SAILMAG. From $90 Sailormade


A handheld VHF radio is both convenient and invaluable in an emergency situation. Either way, it makes a great gift. The VHF255 from West Marine is waterproof and will float if it’s dropped overboard. Three power settings allow you to transmit at 1, 2.5 or 5 watts, and its Li-ion battery is rated for 12 hours of use. The VHF255 weighs under 12 ounces and features a backlit LCD screen and S.A.M.E. weather alert capabilities. $199 West Marine


Your deck hardware is trustworthy enough to tie up your boat—it should be good enough for your cheese and crackers. Fitted out with five-inch stainless steel Herreshoff cleats, this maple-and-mahogany double-cleat serving board from Soundview Millworks works great for onboard entertaining since its 20- by 7 3/4-inch dimensions fit into tighter table spaces. Laser-engraved customization can make a more personal gift, for an added fee. $95 Soundview Millworks


Designed with competitive sailors in mind, the lightweight Regatta Master II watch from Gill includes a number of features to ensure you don’t lose track when you’re in countdown mode prior to your starts. For example, large buttons on the sides of the watch help avoid accidental button-presses while a countdown timer sync function allows you to adjust your timing to the nearest minute at any time during your sequence. In the final minute before the start, the seconds numbers enlarge to full-screen size for ease of viewing as you wrestle your way toward the line. Waterproof to 50 meters, the watch is backlit for easy reading after dark and includes an alarm function to wake you when it’s your turn on watch. $175 Gill


Since 2006, TOMS shoe company has been producing footwear with a “one for one” policy: for every pair of shoes sold, the company donates a pair to a person in need. Now, TOMS has expanded the “One for One” concept and applied it to a new line of sporty sunglasses, perfect for sailing. The Classic 101 line features a retro-stylish look and is robustly constructed with polarized lenses and durable frames. The shades are lightweight, comfortable and fit inside a pocket-sized case, allowing for easy transfer from home to boat to yacht club. We tested them during the five sunny days of the 2011 Annapolis Sailboat Show and were pleased with their looks, visibility and comfort. $135 TOMSFor more on the One for One project, click here.


Cockpit cushions offer some degree of comfort, but if you want to be truly cozy while at anchor, try rigging up a Yellow Leaf Hammock on your foredeck. These hand-woven hammocks are comfy, weatherproof and fit nicely between a forestay and a mast. Ranging in size from a one-person sitting hammock to a three-person lying hammock, each comes in a portable bag for quick and easy assembly. The hammocks themselves are handcrafted by the Mlabri tribe in Thailand, where weavers use up to 150,000 loops and four miles of yarn per hammock. In providing the Mlabri with this economic outlet, Yellow Leaf has helped turn around the once-impoverished tribe. Consider this an ideal gift for the cruiser who has everything, but needs an excuse to relax. From $135 Yellow Leaf


One problem with multi-tools—or any kind of pocketknife for that matter—is that you need two hands to open them. Under most circumstances this is not an issue. But what about those special jobs, say, when you’re hanging off the bow pulpit and really need to get that shackle undone right NOW? The Gerber Octane Multi Plier-Red was made for such circumstances. The tool opens with a one-handed flick of the wrist, proffering plier jaws and giving access to all of its nine separate functions. $52 Gerber


For the sailor who already has everything, but could stand to lose some weight (aboard their boat, of course!), this new carbon fiber 8-inch winch handle from Schaefer Marine is as useful as it is slick. Weighing just 8 ounces, the handle features a nicely functioning locking mechanism and a ball-bearing single grip to ensure smooth operation. During its very first SAIL magazine test, it helped power the J/46 Vanish to victory on the second night of the Wednesday-night “Rogue” series on Boston Harbor. To paraphrase Mars Blackmon of Nike fame: “It’s gotta be the winch handle!” $130 Schaefer Marine


One school of thought holds that rum is what true sailors drink. Others, especially those wintering in less temperate climes, prefer to sip single-malt Scotch when there’s a chill in the air. For rum aficionados there is, of course, Mount Gay rum from Barbados, now available in a limited edition “Nautical Bottle” with an “M” flag design. For Scotch drinkers, how about some 21-year-old Old Pulteney, the self-described “Genuine Maritime Malt” distilled in Wick, Scotland—the northernmost distillery on the British mainland? It’s also recently garnered additional cred as the “official Scotch” of US Sailing. From $17.99, Mount Gay, Old Pulteney


Here’s the latest from the office of “Why didn’t I think of that?”—a clever spinnaker halyard clip from a new outfit called SOAK. Constructed from UV-resistant nylon, the clips hold your spin halyard out of the way until you release it with a moderate tug when the time comes for the set. No more using tape, shackles or various other jury-rigged gizmos. Brilliant! The clip works with line diameters from 4 to 9 millimeters aboard everything from dinghies to sport boats. And at less than $20, it’s the perfect stocking stuffer! $19.95 SOAK


For many intrepid cold-season sailors, the secret to avoiding misery is keeping your head and your toes warm and dry. Dahlgren Footwear’s newest line of performance socks does just that. The socks include a blend of merino and alpaca wool that is both durable and comfortable. Patented Dri-Stride technology separates the sock into zones, which are used to absorb moisture and transfer it away from the skin, leaving your foot warm and dry. A range of different thicknesses, styles and heights are available to keep your tootsies warm and toasty. From $22.95 Dahlgren Footwear


Look good both on and off the water with this new CoCo cap from SailFast, which both wicks away sweat and provides UPF40+ sun protection while keeping your melon toasty warm. The caps are machine washable and reversible, with a Cocona poly-blend fabric on one side and Cocona fleece on the other. Cocona fibers are made from the mashed up pulp of coconut shells—how cool is that! Ten percent of all SailFast profits go to fight leukemia and other blood cancers. $24 SailFast


If it can possibly be made out of sailcloth, you can bet it’s being made by SailorBags. Duffel bags, totes, lunch bags, dopp kits, book covers, wallets, wine bottle carriers, even Christmas stockings, the breadth of the Upstate New York company really is a thing to behold. Personalized and customized items are also available for corporate events, yacht club bashes or your ever-so-loyal crew. From $15 SailorBags


For crewmates with a sweet tooth, it would be hard to come up with a better stocking stuffer than this lighthouse crammed with goodies from Harbor Sweets Chocolates. The New England chocolate maker is best known for its “Sweet Sloops,” a line of sailboats shaped in almond butter crunch with a mainsail and a jib of white chocolate floating in dark chocolate with pecan washing its sides. In addition to the lighthouse, which includes 24 Sweet Sloops, you can also order a fleet or two in a variety of different packages, including a cherry box with a picture of schooner leaving Marblehead Harbor on the lid. $26 Harbor Sweets Chocolates



Return of the Annapolis Boat Show

After a hiatus in 2020, the United States Boat Show in Annapolis, Maryland returned in full force last weekend. “Pent up demand” was the name of the game for visitors and exhibitors alike. Queues to get in each morning stretched around the block, and the docks were congested ...read more


Sailing Hall of Fame Inducts Class of 2021

This weekend, the National Sailing Hall of Fame has inducted eleven new members to make up the class of 2021. “The remarkable achievements of this year’s class exemplify excellence and an unwavering dedication to our sport,” said National Sailing Hall of Fame president Gus ...read more


Mirabaud Voting Open to the Public

Photos from the industry's top photographers are in, and the 12th annual Mirabaud Yacht Racing Image competition is underway. An international panel of judges has selected this year's 80 finalists, which have been published online. The panel will also select the winner of the ...read more


Annapolis’ Boat Show is Back

After a year off in 2020, the United States Boat Show in Annapolis is back. From the diminutive Areys Pond Cat 14 XFC to the massive Lagoon Sixty 5, many of the SAIL’s 2022 Best Boats Nominees are on display for the public to get a firsthand look at, and SAIL’s Best Boats panel ...read more


Close-Hauled to Hawaii

The saying “Nothing goes to windward like a 747,” is one of my favorites. I actually once took a 747 upwind, retracing my earlier downwind sailing route across the Pacific. I’ve also done a fair bit of ocean sailing to windward. The 747 was a lot more comfortable. But then ...read more


Refurbishing Shirley Rose: Part 3

If you missed the first installment, click here. The hull and deck of Shirley Rose had been repaired, but what kind of sailboat would she be without a sturdy rig? I was told she was ready to sail, and that the owner replaced the standing rigging a few years before. Shirley Rose ...read more


Mini Transat: Bouroullec and Fink Win Leg One

The Mini Transat is a roughly 4000-mile course that comprises two legs— Les Sables D’Olonne, France to Santa Cruz de La Palma in the Canaries, and Santa Cruz de La Palma to the French Caribbean island Guadeloupe. Two fleets of Mini 6.50s compete—the Production class in ...read more


Book Excerpt: Taken By The Wind

In 1975, as a senior at Harvard, the question for Chicago-area sailor Mike Jacker became what to do next. The answer, as related in his new book Taken by the Wind, was to make a small-boat voyage to Tahiti with his grade-school friend Louis Gordon and Harvard classmate Clark ...read more