Father’s Day Gift Guide

The editors of Sailing World make their Father's Day gift picks. Brought to you by Nikon.

June 5, 2012
GPS unit

Velocitek ProStart

Buy It Now! Velocitek

Possibly the greatest electronic racing gadget of the past decade, the Velocitek ProStart is a sportboat dad’s dream, come true. If your dad has ever complained about lousy third-row starts, the ProStart will cure what ails him. Using the internal GPS unit, and a few step-by-step inputs, the ProStart gives time to the start, and distance to the line, ensuring a front-row seat every time (although never guaranteed, of course). Once off the line with a clean lane, he can enjoy check his speed and course over ground and watch for shifts on the graphic wind-shift indicator. -Dave Reed

water shoes

Sperry Top-Sider Seahiker

Buy It Now! Sperry

For the dinghy sailing dad, the best footwear you can hook him up with is a pair of Sperry Top-Sider’s GripX3 Seahiker, developed with input from the Olympic sailing athletes of Team Sperry Top-Sider. These neoprene boots have everything going for them: a rubberized “Top Deck 360” to pad and grip a hiking strap, STS’s patented “Son-R Technology” sole, which will activate pressure points on the bottom of his feet (allowing him to “see his feet”), and vent holes to allow water to drain. The side-zip makes them easy to get on and off, and the curved zipper keeps the boot streamlined and snug. I’m six months into one pair with heavy use and they’re holding together great, and still smelling fresh. -Dave Reed


Harken Rigtune Pro Harken

Every serious racing dad has a LOOS Gauge Model B, but not everyone’s old man has a Harken RigTune Pro. If you’re looking to splurge as thanks to all those years of causing him undue anxiety, give him one of these, and he’ll be the envy of the boat park. With the Rigtune there’s no more fussing with a shaky LOOS gauge handle and estimating the number. The Rigtune locks onto the shroud to measure and record shroud tension—to the nearest kilogram. The measurement is displayed on a simple, easy-to-read screen. It accommodates a specific range of rigging sizes (2.5 to 5mm), reducing the need for multiple gauges and eliminating conversion tables. -Dave Reed

mobile app

Navionics Mobile App Navionics

The Navionics Mobile App is the must-have electronic gadget for any sailor—competitive or not. It’s like putting a $4,000 chart plotter into the palm of your hand, and never needing to open an owner’s manual. Tapping into the GPS transponder in the phone, it’ll immerse your dad right into detailed nautical charting bliss. No cell service necessary. He’ll get tides and currents, route planning, waypoints and markers, wind forecasts, satellite overlay on charts, social route sharing and much, much more. If he has an iPad in the nav station, splurge for the HD version. Navionics says, “It’s the only marine app you’ll ever need,” and that’s no hype. (Also available for Android.) -Dave Reed

waterproof camera

Nikon’s COOLPIX AW100

Buy It Now! Nikon

It’s tough to keep a camera dry and safe down below. It’s even tougher when you want to have it on hand for spur-of-the-moment photo ops. Nikon’s COOLPIX AW100 is “built to thrive in rugged conditions.” It’s waterproof up to a depth of 33 feet and shockproof if dropped from 5 feet, so dad can snap a shot or take a video, toss it into the soaking cockpit, and step on it without worry. Plus, it’ll track his sail with built-in GPS, and the eCompass serves as back-up when his digital compass battery drains. -Meredith Powlison

waterproof video camera

GoPro Hero HD2

Buy It Now! GoPro

Sure, dad’s always been your hero, but with a GoPro Hero2 to capture all his yachting exploits in crisp high-definition, he can be everyone’s hero. Thankfully, for sailing, there are a lot of GoPro mounting options available today. He can go traditional and mount it on his head, but with all the new fittings he can put the camera on the transom, the masthead, on the keel, should he so desire. Your best bet is to buy him tackle box, too, so he can store the many different fittings and small pieces. If you want to splurge, buy him the LCD viewer screen, which allows him to frame his shot before recording the action. The Surf Edition, at $299.99 will get him going with the right parts. -Dave Reed

Sailing World

Knots & Splices App

Knots at your fingertips – Download Now! Saling World
waterproof paper

Ritchie WetNotes

Buy It Now! Ritchie

For the penniless offspring desperate to deliver more than a card and an apron that says, “World’s Greatest Grillmaster,” you can never lose with a Ritchie WetNotes pad. A mere $15 gets you in his good graces. Offer to write down and maintain his rig-tune matrix, and you’ll be the golden child. -Dave Reed

air dryer

Davis Instruments’ Air-Dryr

Buy It Now! Davisnet

If you want to get a accurate read on how valuable you are to any crew, ask the boat captain or skipper (or your dad) if you can leave your wet shoes onboard between race days. Drying out the damp interior of a boat is a difficult task in the best of conditions, a pair of stinky, wet shoes only add to the problem. Last summer, however, I came up with a compromise for the skipper of the J/24 on which I sail each Thursday evening. I would provide a drying device for the boat if he’d let me leave my shoes onboard each week. Sold, he said. The obvious answer is a dehumidifier. But they’re heavy, a pain to store when not in use, and they sap a lot of power. For something like a J/24 they’re overkill. Davis Instruments’ Air-Dryr is a perfect solution. It’s available in two sizes, the 500 and 1000, which correspond to the number of cubic feet each unit can effectively dry. Each is light enough to be carried on board when not in use.

The damp air is heated to the point moisture is held in suspension (above dew point), then released through the top vents of the device. As warmed air rises, cooler damp air is drawn in, where it too is heated. Air-Dryr costs no more to operate than the burning of a light bulb. A thermal cutoff turns the unit off should air flow be impeded.” We used the 500 model all summer on the J/24 and arrived arrive each Thursday to a dry boat (and shoes). It won’t dry out a 40-foot cruiser/racer overnight, or get rid of standing water in the bilge after a wet day of sailing, but for small keelboats, it’s a great way to help dad keep the interior of his boat—and your shoes—light, dry, and clean. —Stuart Streuli

boats, minifish

J/70 JBoats

My dad bought me my first boat—a pink Minifish—when I was 10. So it only makes sense that I should return the favor. The new J/70 ($40k-$45k), which I took on a demo sail earlier this year, could be just the thing. With a lifting keel, we could easily launch the 22.5-footer from any ramp, rig it up, and be planing in no time. The boat’s quick to accelerate, yet remarkably stable and dry. Whether racing or just day sailing, I think my dad would be pretty psyched. Now I just have to save up my pennies. -Meredith Powlison

Sailing World

Top-Down Furler Ryan Scott/West Marine Rigging

In our July/August 2012 issue, West Marine Newport’s rigging guru Ryan Scott extols the virtues of new “top-down” furling systems trickling down from the big leagues and into the hands of club racers. These new setups, currently available from both Karver and Ronstan (Karver KSF2 shown) work by furling an asymmetric spinnaker around a cable that doesn’t twist (called “anti-torsion cables). With a free-spinning tack at the furling drum and a top swivel, the top of the sail is furled first, creating a nice, tight furl, then the middle of the sail, and finally the bottom. Once it’s furled, the spinnaker can be snaked on the deck (or left up) and reset in a matter of minutes (on the same halyard). A complete Karver KSF2 system (cable included, and Scott is happy to deliver) is upwards of $3,000, but think of the cost savings for dad by not shredding his new asymmetric spinnaker halfway through your next distance race. -Dave Reed


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