Newport Sailing Gloves
Harken and West Marine have teamed up to re-engineer the sailing glove, in the process providing it with less bulk and more performance. Among other highlights, the ribbed neoprene back provides outstanding abrasion protection, while redesigned finger patches improve dexterity. Similarly, the gloves’ single-piece palm patch reduces stitching and makes for a smoother, irritation-free surface for your hands, while easy-to-release wrist straps streamline things even more. Newport gloves come in full-finger and 3/4-finger versions and are available in sizes from small to XXL.$36.
West Marine, westmarine.com
Rizzoli International Publications has released this striking portrait of American sailing by nautical photography legend Onne van der Wal just in time for the holidays. Featuring 200 stunning photographs spanning the length and breadth of the sailing scene—from dinghies in Newport to high-tech maxis in Key West to cruisers in Alaska—and including an introduction by Gary Jobson, this coffee-table book is guaranteed to be the center of attention in any living room.
$100, Rizzoli International Publications, Inc., rizzoliusa.com
Devil in Paradise
If you haven’t yet heard of U.S. Navy Captain Bliven Putnam, it’s time you did. Following in the wake of James L. Haley’s The Shores of Tripoli and A Darker Sea, The Devil in Paradise, sees our hero, now a veteran of the War of 1812, venturing off to the distant Pacific Ocean aboard the sloop of war Rappahannock. Once there, he finds himself having to contend with everything from pirates to Kaahumanu, the formidable queen of the Hawaiian Islands. Again, if you haven’t yet had the pleasure of setting sail alongside this U.S. version of C.S. Forester’s Captain Horatio Hornblower, it’s high time you did.
$28. G.P. Putnam’s Sons, penguin.com
GPSMAP 86 handhelds
The new GPSMAP 86 series from Garmin is comprised of four models, including the top-of-the-line GPSMAP 86sci with built-in Garmin/Navionics charts and inReach functionality, making them just the thing for a daysailer or pocket cruiser, in particular. Each model in the series boasts a sunlight-readable 3in color display and an easy-to-use keypad. When hooked up to wireless internet, the GPSMAP 86s can even interact with whatever compatible devices you may have onboard, integrating data and remotely controlling your autopilot. The rechargeable battery provides up to 35 hours of operation.
$650. Garmin, garmin.com
Zhik Regatta Luggage
An important, but largely overlooked aspect of sailboat racing is travelling to and from regattas, especially with the growing popularity of events in the Caribbean and Europe. To this end, innovative sailing gear manufacturer Zhik recently unveiled what it calls its regatta luggage line, which includes everything from a backpack to a “Holdall” duffel to a full-size wheelie Bag. Constructed from robust, waterproof and water-resistant polyester, the various different pieces in the line include any number of clever, sailing-specific features. For example, the “Team” backpack is equipped with a laptop sleeve as well as a stretch pocket for drink bottles and a pair of comfy, breathable mesh straps. Along these same lines, the Holdall duffel, which comes in two sizes, includes a large, fully seam-taped waterproof inner pocket for tucking away your wet stuff mid-regatta.
From $60. Zhik, zhik.com
Spyderco’s Caribbean knife has been carefully designed for life offshore, with a blade crafted from an LC200N nitrogen and chromium-rich alloy making it both corrosion resistant and tough. The blade is also available in two different profiles—sheepsfoot and leaf-shaped—both of which include Spyderco’s trademark Round Hole for easy opening with just one hand. The distinctive-looking handle of the knife also features carefully crafted anti-slip ribbing, a lanyard hole and a reversible titanium clip to help keep the knife where it belongs after slipping it into the pocket of, say, your bibs on dark and stormy passage.
$260. Spyderco, spyderco.com
During a long day out on the water, nothing beats having something cold to drink. However, aboard smaller boats, in particular, finding room for a boxy, hard cooler can be a challenge, to say the least. Enter Yeti’s new Hopper M30, a great choice for a boat, not only because of its soft sides, but because it is completely waterproof and uses a high-density fabric that resists punctures, abrasions, mildew and even UV. Closed-cell foam insulation offers outstanding insulating performance, while the cooler’s wide opening makes it that much easier to access whatever goodies you may have in mind. The coolers are available in charcoal, navy and river green.
$299. Yeti Coolers LLC, yeti.com
Dubarry Ultima Boots
Dubarry’s enormously popular Ultima boot is back with a new color scheme for this holiday season. The boots, which have historically been available in brown, now come in a handsome navy and brown combination. The iconic Irish-built leather sailing boots are fully waterproof and lined with Gore-Tex to keep them breathable. An expanding Lycra panel accommodates a variety of calf widths, while nonskid, non-marking soles ensure positive traction, no matter what the weather or angle of heel. The boots are available in both men’s and women’s sizes.
$399. Dubarry, dubarry.us
Pretty much every sailor with a yen for rum has heard of Mount Gay, the pride of Barbados. But for the truly special sailor on your list, why be with content with the standard-issue? Mount Gay also offers a selection of super-premium rums that are sure to warm the cockles of his or her heart, like Mount Gay Black Barrel, a small-batch handcrafted rum, matured in ex-Tennessee whiskey casks and finished in heavily charred casks originally containing bourbon; or 1703 Master Select, a “limited annual release” that varies with every new edition. A merry holiday tipple never tasted so good.
From $30. Mount Gay, mountgayrum.com
Musto Synergy Fleece
When the going gets tough, even the burliest foulweather gear is only as good as what you’ve got on underneath, especially in cooler weather. With this in mind, veteran gear manufacture Musto has introduced what it calls it Synergy Fleece Jacket to serve as a base layer when, say, daysailing in early spring or standing watch on a chilly graveyard watch. Breathable, lightweight and fast-drying, the jacket can also be worn alone, even in light rain or when having to contend with a bit of spray. Other features include a Lycra-bound hem and cuffs and “flatlocked” seams that lie flat, sitting comfortably against your skin.
$97. Musto, musto.com
Hold Fast Poster
Trying to bring a little bit of summer sailing back home with you this winter? This art-quality poster from Hold Fast Sailing is a classy addition to any room that needs some sailing décor. It features the insignias of 117 classes of boats and is guaranteed to become a topic of conversation whenever your sailor friends stop by and you inevitably vie to see who can identify the most of them.
$40. Hold Fast Sailing, holdfastsailing.com
Keep everything from your handheld VHF to your sunglasses and rigging tape safe next season with this handy storage setup from PedPox. The band of pockets fits snugly around your steering pedestal and gives you extra stowage for small gear that otherwise is in constant danger of becoming lost in some larger locker, or crushed underfoot or slipping overboard. Hand-sewn in Maine and designed by sailors for sailors, the pouches are tough, self-draining, weather-tested and can be easily removed for safe storage while in port or during the off-season.
$39. PedPox, pedpox.com
A Model Gift
Since time immemorial, sailors have enjoyed decorating their cabins and drawing rooms with well-crafted, accurately rigged ship models, and it would be hard to find a better example of the art than as practiced by California’s SD Model Makers. In business since 2008, the company was founded by veteran sailor Captain Brad Poulos, the holder of a 100 ton Coast Guard license no less, and has gone on to have its products featured in such prestigious venues as Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry and the Naval War College Museum. In terms of the types of models SD builds, it can do everything from an accurate model of your own boat to classics from the Age of Sail. Some lead time is required for custom jobs, but stock boats, like the clipper ship Cutty Sark, can be delivered immediately.
$NA. SD Model Makers, sdmodelmakers.com