Stuck for Christmas gift ideas for the sailor who has it all? Yachting World is here to help with dozens of great ideas
Are you wondering what to get the sailor in your life for Christmas? Here is our pick of the best products that would make perfect a Christmas gift for a keen sailor:
Garmin Quatix 6
The latest generation of Garmin’s sailing smartwatch adds optional Bluechart g3 cartography enabling it to function as a standalone plotter. It also gains a larger 1.3in always-on screen and a MOB detection feature. As with previous generations, it can be used to interface with Garmin chartplotters and instrument data, as well as controlling autopilots and on-board entertainment.
RRP: £630 / $699
Read MBY’s full Garmin Quatix 6 review.
If your budget quite won’t stretch that far, read YBW’s guide to the best sailing watches available right now.
With each product is a ‘Buy it now’ link. If you click on this then we may receive a small amount of money from the retailer when you purchase the item. This doesn’t affect the amount you pay.
Standard Horizon HX210E
This affordable 6W waterproof and buoyant handheld VHF is compact yet feature packed. The lithium battery-powered radio has chunky keys, a bright backlit screen, a water-activated strobe and an integral FM radio.
RRP: £114.95 / $150
When two fishermen brothers couldn’t find a robust icebox/cooler, they started Yeti, which produces coolers you can stand on, throw around a boat and that will keep ice cold for days.
The drinkware range looks just as practical, whether water bottles, the ramblers to keep your coffee hot, or the wine tumbler to keep your Côtes de Provence ice cold.
The Rambler gallon/half gallon jugs make a lot of sense for day sailing racing, either for warming soups hot or keeping your Dark’n’Stormy fresh! See Stones/Yeti for options
RRP: £129 / $129
Yachting World subscription
A hardcopy of the world’s favourite sailing magazine every month for 6 months from £19.99 (or ipad/iphone digital issues for £16.99) – now that’s a Christmas gift that delivers long into the new year!
Quench manual watermaker
Hydro Wind Energy is aiming to produce 100 million Quench Sea desalinators in the next seven years! This unit has triple pre-filtration and a small state-of-the-art reverse osmosis replaceable membrane rated for the production of 18,000lt of fresh water. It weighs 0.7kg and produces 2lt of water an hour.
Note: the first units aren’t scheduled to ship until February 2021, but a voucher for one could be welcomed as a Christmas gift with a difference.
RRP: £56 (replacement membrane costs £8)
Sealey power pack
This lithium ion power back offers a potential solution to the problem of keeping gadgets charged while on board. It’s compact and weighs only 1.5kg, but has a 31,200mAh capacity that’s sufficient to deliver half a dozen full charges for a smart phone, or to fully charge a typical laptop twice.
RRP: £168 / $185
The Nautical Puzzle Book
How much do you really know about the oceans? The National Maritime Museum has packed this book with hundreds of questions and a mix of maps, world games and trivia. Available in hardback or Ebook form this stocking filler is designed to suit veteran sailors and armchair navigators alike.
RRP: £14.99 / $19.99
Zhik ECO Wetsuit
Many cruising yachts carry wetsuits, whether for emergency underwater work, swimming in cold Atlantic waters or watersports. However, there are long-standing environmental problems with conventional neoprene, an oil-based synthetic rubber that will never biodegrade and requires a massive amount of energy to produce. A number of companies have developed alternatives, including Zhik with this ECO Wetsuit made from sustainable plant-based materials and recycled plastics.
RRP: £170 / $225
Best sailing calendars
After 33 years of producing calendars, renowned sailing photographer Rick Tomlinson knows how to pick an optimum blend of art and action for your wall. This year’s selection ranges from TP52 and Class 40 racing to whales in the Falklands.
RRP: £19.95 (wall calendar) / £9.99 (desk calendar)
Whether its on his home Solent waters or at a Caribbean regatta, Paul has an uncanny ability to distil action and colour and make a yacht jump out of the image – which also explains why he is one of our regular boat test photographers!
Ingrid was recently awarded a Licentiate of the Royal Photographic Society and has picked out two shots per month for this A2 calendar. The artistic, dramatic, modern and classic regatta images are from events including the last America’s Cup, J-Class and Classics at Les Voiles de St Tropez, plus, she says ‘a smidgen of carnage’.
After nearly 40 years behind the lens afloat, Sharon Green has a top reputation for capturing race boats in colourful action, whether it’s the powered up supermaxi Comanche or an Optimist atop a wave.
A knot a day
With lockdowns and travel restrictions ongoing, what better time to further your skills? Nic Compton has set the tempting task of 365 different knot challenges for all ages and abilities, so you can hitch, bend, whip and splice your way through 2021 and maybe pick up some magic tricks on the way.
Oakley Split Shot sailing sunglasses
Wearing a good set of UV-protected sunglasses with polarised lenses year-round can help protect against serious eye damage. But it can be painful and expensive if, like me, you are prone to losing glasses over the side. Oakley’s Split Shot glasses come with Prizm lenses and provide a detachable lightweight and ultra thin wire leash attachment to its wraparound glasses to suit watersports in particular.
RRP: £142 / $210
Looking for a different style? Check out YBW’s guide to the best sailing sunglasses on the market.
Wuzzos personalised deck shoes
How about a bespoke Christmas present – shoes with some individuality? Wuzzos launched in 2019 and offers premium performance deck shoes with the option of personalising them. Customers can add their names, initials, sail racing numbers and eventing numbers to their shoes.
For more options, from deck trainers to leather moccasins, check out YBW’s guide to the best boat shoes available right now.
Bark & Rock journal
What do you get the sailor who has everything? Tablets are so last year. A journal made out of wood perhaps? These luxury journals are handmade by a family-run business in the UK. A range of styles is available from the more traditional oak to an Indian Ebony or a more exotic Bubinga Kewazinga from Equatorial Africa.
Just don’t let your kids draw in or on them…
Ocean Signal rescueMe MOB1
The more portable personal rescue devices are, the more likely they will be worn or carried. Ocean Signal’s new MOB1 is 30% smaller than competitor AIS MOB devices.
It can alert any AIS-equipped vessels in the vicinity to the precise location of a casualty in the water, and it will fit on any inflatable lifejacket’s oral tube. It also includes DSC alerting so can both pinpoint a MOB location via AIS, plus trigger the yacht’s own VHF alarm.
This is a clever portable device that provides an affordable way to keep friends and family in touch with your whereabouts when offshore. It allows you to send and receive SMS text messages to any mobile phone, email address or other inReach device, anywhere in the world, via the Iridium satellite constellation.
In Reach works like a Sat phone and provides live online tracking and email and can also be sinked with your phone and operated through an app.
RRP: £399.99 / $449.99
Henri Lloyd neoprene sailing gloves
Sailing with cold hands sucks. We tested a selection of winter gloves and these came out top. The full-fingered gloves have neoprene thermal insulation, which means that even when they (inevitably) get wet, they keep your hands warm.
The grippy surface on the palms proved particularly good when handling intricate jobs and overall we were really impressed with this glove. Tough, flexible and easy to get on and off even when wet.
Musto Corsica BR1 Jacket
Warm, waterproof, and ideal for both winter sailing or walking the high street, the Corsica jacket is lined with heat-retentive Arctec fleece that keeps much of its insulating power even when wet.
RRP: £160 / $174.99
Gill Tarp Barrel Bag
All sailors need a decent kit bag. This 60L no-nonsense barrel bag is made from durable waterproof tarpaulin and features a two-way zip and padded shoulder strap.
RRP: £60 / $75
For the person who has or wants every toy, this is the latest compact watersports trend. The inflatable handheld wing offers a cross between windsurfing and kitesurfing rigs, but with no strings or rigging needed. It allows a very simple, pure method for a board rider to harness the wind, be it on a foiling kiteboard or a SUP – just blow it up, grab the handles and go.
RRP: £650 / $799
Karun recycled sunglasses
This small company in Patagonia makes unbreakable sailing sunglasses from recycled fishing nets collected from the coast of Chile. It worked with professional sailors to design sunglasses with technical [Zeiss polyamide] lenses designed to meet the demands of the Volvo Ocean Race. The frames have stainless steel hinges and rubber temple tips.
RRP: €245 for the VOR Sailing Edition.
GoCycle portable E-bike
We did a test of folding bikes and portable transport in 2017. If you can afford it, this GoCycle is a clear winner. This beautifully engineered electric-assist bicycle has 20in wheels, balloon tyres, and a well-cushioned saddle, which gives a smooth fast and comfortable ride. It is a proper, enjoyable bike to cycle manually and the rider can select from zero to 100 per cent motor assistance on demand.
The GoCycle is a premium product that needs space to store and time to assemble. But, it is a game-changer, giving real freedom to enjoy time away from the boat.
Garmin Virb Ultra 30
If your choice of action camera is more defined by durability, audio and picture quality, consider a Virb cameras. Garmin continues to upgrade its rugged and waterproof (to 50m) Virb cams with increased resolution and a variety of mounting options.
This is the first fully waterproof quad copter – and it floats. The drone is not only designed to carry a GoPro, but has a payload release feature for carrying and releasing other items, including safety gear. SwellPro has released the 3rd generation of the SplashDrone, with improved features, including a ‘follow me’ mode. Use it to capture some unique footage of your yacht, take a beer to a friend, or even drop a life-ring to a casualty in the water.
RRP: £2,188/ $1,378
Fusion Stereoactive Bluetooth Speaker
For those who don’t fancy drilling holes in their cockpit lockers, a waterproof Bluetooth speaker is the answer. Fusion’s Stereoactive is a purpose-built portable watersports stereo with built-in Bluetooth audio streaming, radio tuner and USB audio playback. It has a mounting system for secure attachment to paddleboards, kayaks, dinghies and more.
I have used one for two years in the house and on the boat and it has proved robust and user-friendly with a proper audible punch.
RRP: £229 / $300
Papa’s Pilar Rum
Because every sailor enjoys a drop of rum, right?! Inspired by Ernest Hemingway’s adventures between Florida and Cuba on his boat, Pilar, this rum brand was created in collaboration with Hemingway’s estate, and the family remains involved and donates a majority of its proceeds to charity.
Waterproof iPhone housing
GoPros and similar action cameras are great devices, but they are both expensive (some more than £500) and need charging. Recent smartphones have a camera that is just as good as a high-end action camera. This neat case turns an iPhone into a fully waterproof action camera.
It’s waterproof to 50ft or 130ft, depending on model, and is compatible with all GoPro mounting accessories. Full control of the phone’s camera is achieved via the volume buttons.
RRP: £89 / $119.99
Carboteck bracket and bezel
An upgrade for the dinghy sailing enthusiast in your life. This forged light and impact resistant carbon bezel is designed for use with a Velocitek Prism or a Raymarine Tacktick Micro Compass. The forged carbon is created by mixing paste fibres with resin, then squeezing the material into the desired shape.
RRP: Bezel £49.99; Compass bracket £89.99.
Red Limited Edition SUP
Red’s 10ft 6in Ride model is the most popular and arguably most versatile all round inflatable stand-up paddleboard. Having relied on one on our boat for the last couple of summer seasons, I can vouch for it being a fantastic edition to the sail locker.
It’s ideal for getting to or from the beach, exercising/paddling or surfing when at anchor and it provides a dive platform and extra floating space for the kids. It comes with cargo tie-downs and three fins attached – and the pumps and backpacks supplied are also superb.
The simple ideas are the best. These compact LEDs stick to the underbelly of each bladder, which uses the large fluorescent surface like a diffuser to maximise the visibility of the flashing light. Once activated, the Lume-On provides up to two hours of intense flashing light. It adds very little extra weight, has a smooth profile so will not chafe the bladder, and is very simple to retrofit to most lifejackets.
RRP: £14.94 per pair
Olaf Urban scooter
A neat, compact solution to getting around in foreign marinas and towns. The Olaf Urban combines four products in one: a kick-scooter, a trolley, a backpack and a skateboard. The Urban backpack is designed to carry the folded scooter. The combined backpack and trolley weigh just 3.5kg and the trolley can take a 120kg payload.
A neat two-way satellite messenger, with communication via SMS or email. The Spot X has a Qwerty keyboard, can be linked to Facebook and Twitter accounts, and has tracking and SOS functions. Satellite coverage is via the Globalstar system.
RRP: £286 (+subscription from €11.95/month)
Astra esa smartwatch
The esa is the first smartwatch designed for sailing, fusing the sailor’s thirst for gadgetry with high-street technology. The esa watch uses wifi to display information from onboard instruments on your wrist. As well as the ability to show performance sailing data including speed and polar target data, the watch is still essentially a smartphone, offering full Android capabilities.
This Australian innovation blends rowing with outboard motors to produce a clever lightweight solution for your tender. It uses a 3:1 gear ratio contained in the collar by the handle, driving a high-pitch propeller to provide a smooth, silent and fuel-less means of manual propulsion in either direction. Time to ditch the outboard, oars or both?
Rokk ultimate cable
If you’re going to get a waterproof case for your mobile device, you may want one of these charging cables too. The extra long (2m/6.5ft) and durable Ultimate cable is corrosion and tangle proof, and allows for waterproof phone charging when used with a compatible case.
Raymarine Ocean Scout TK
Raymarine’s most affordable thermal camera to date, the Ocean Scout TK can extend vision afloat, day or night, by creating images from heat. It can spot objects up to 119m away, including boats, buoys, landmarks or wildlife. But its ability to potentially thermally identify a MOB could quickly make it high on sailors’ wishlists.
Sealskinz waterproof hat
Keeping your head warm and dry is vital to enjoying winter sailing. This waterproof hi-vis Sealskinz Bobble hat looks like the ideal way of achieving that, while making sure you can be spotted easily. It is water and stain repellent, with a Teflon coated acrylic outer fabric and micro fleece inner lining.
Looking for a different style? Check out YBW’s guide to the best sailing hats on the market.
Exposure XS-WR Torch
This compact, lightweight double-ended torch shines a powerful white beam from one end and a red light from the other. Both can be operated simultaneously for a variety of uses from onboard, to the tender ride or cycle home.
Accessories include a headband that allows either colour to shine forwards, a reflective neck lanyard, plus stanchion, helmet and magnetic mounts.
Those who need to swipe screens in colder climes can now keep their digits warm too with Mujjo’s latest fleece-lined touchscreen gloves. These nitted versions have black leather cuffs and anti-slip palms with silicon grip dots.
RRP: £29 / $49
Race tactics involve decisions based on the wind direction and trends, gleaned from the yacht’s compass. This Danish TackingMaster helps make wind shifts quick and easy to gauge using a watch-style wrist mount.
Once the wind direction and course to the mark have been set, you can track any shifts by using its inner course dial. So you can easily see how a shift may affect the next tack or leg and keep track of the average wind trend.
Anyone who partakes in extreme watersports will know there are times when wearing a lifejacket is simply not practical afloat. And others may simply want the comfort of a personal flotation device without the bulk, perhaps when taking a swim away from an anchored yacht.
The Restube is a personal lifebuoy developed by a kitesurfer that stows into a small bum-bag like pouch. It uses a vertical or horizontal belt attachment, and a sports model is available with a harness mount.
If I were to recommend one piece of repair kit to carry aboard it would probably be this emergency epoxy adhesive. The fast curing epoxy can be used on sails plus most materials in virtually all conditions – including underwater – so it can even help patch a hole below the waterline. Watch the video here
RRP: €15.75 for 10ml
A Satsleeve turns your mobile phone into a satphone. It wraps around the phone, utilising the mobile’s internal electronics and encodes and boosts the signal for connection to the Thuraya satellite network. The SatSleeve+ has a universal adapter, so the user can switch between most smartphone models from 58 to 85mm in width.
RRP: £447 / $550 or £5 per day to rent from globaltelesat.co.uk
Fizzics portable beer tap
Sailors are discerning types with quality tastes. So why not ship a portable beer tap for draught-tasting beer with the perfect head? The founders of Fizzics have really delved into the science (or ‘fizzics’) of beer drinking, and created a device that they say will deliver the perfect pour, creating an ‘ultra dense, long-lasting foam head’ from any standard size beer can or bottle – and all beer types from lager and ale to stout.
It’s strictly for those who take their drinking seriously – I’ve asked Santa for one.
This very cool wearable multitool completely reinvents the concept – it’s worn on the wrist like a watch. As standard 29 tools are provided, including flat, Phillips and Pozi-Driv screwdrivers, hex drives, box wrenches and Torx drives. There’s also a cutting hook, sim card pick, carbide glass breaker and bottle opener. As there is no conventional knife you can fly without putting it in hold luggage.
RRP: £199.95 / $220
FlexSafe – Keep your valuables safe
Keeping keys, passports, wallets and electronic gadgets safe when travelling can all too often be a challenge. The FlexSafe is a lockable bag made of slash-proof materials that cannot be cut open with a knife and incorporates a piercing 110db motion sensing alarm. When on shore simply attach the bag to a convenient tree, your folding bike, the dinghy or any other suitable structure.
Spinlock Essentials chest pack
Spinlock’s Essential Packs are snug fitting solutions for keeping accessories like a mobile phone, VHF, or personal EPIRB to hand on the water. They are available as belt, side or chest packs that attach with Velcro tie-downs, and neatly compliment Spinlock’s Deckvest 5D lifejacket.
Sugru is a new material that feels like play dough but acts like superglue and sticks to most objects and surfaces. It’s very user-friendly, highly malleable and waterproof and comes in 10 bright colours. It’s ideal for both fixing things and giving items a new lease of life as it sets like silicone rubber (flexible and insulated) – it’s also surprisingly fun to apply.
RRP: £15.99 / $12 for 8x 50g single-use packs
Wichard has produced knives in Thiers, the French home of knife making, since 1919. Its latest range includes Offshore and more economic Aquaterra models.
The Offshore knife has a serrated blade that can cut through Dyneema, and is available with a combined shackle key/marlinspike. The Aquaterra uses a conventional or serrated blade and has the accessory all sailors really need: a corkscrew.
RRP: £30 / $32
Tiwal 3.2 inflatable dinghy
This French inflatable sailing dinghy stows into two compact bags and can be launched, assembled and sailed anywhere in 20 minutes. It looks like safe, enjoyable and family-friendly fun, ideal for getting kids into dinghy sailing.
It uses the same high-strength PVC material as stand-up paddleboards, inflated via a high-pressure pump. An alloy structure gives it a backbone and allows the helm or crew to sit out, and a freestanding carbon mast splits into four.
Keep in the locker or trailer sail – without the need for a trailer. Watch the video here
The 2018 models have been updated. They are now more streamlined, practical and comfortable. Hiking rack pads have been added to the accessories.
Three years ago Ino-Rope brought out its revolutionary lightweight textile IB blocks with working loads from 800kg to 6T. It has now launched a Light range that uses a soft connector as both axle and connector, resulting in a sturdy and affordable block for smaller applications, boats or dinghies.
RRP: €16.50 for the IB 0.6 for rope up to 8mm
We can’t promise any of these products will be delivered in time – but we wish a Happy Christmas to all!
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