I consider myself a lucky dude: all my wife wants for Christmas is a hair straightener. (Why she wants a new one when the one she has works perfectly fine, I don’t understand. But I’m not arguing. At least I don’t have to go to Jared.) If you’re like me, you do all your shopping online, and you do it at the last minute, which, for online shoppers, is more or less today. Still need a gift for the racer on your list? Here’s a few ways you can’t go wrong:
Field Organizer by Brooks-Range**
Brooks-Range makes mountaineering gear, but the company’s Field Organizer makes a handy addition to any raceboat. While conducting the compact video camera test for our January/February 2012 issue, I used the organizer on race day to keep the camera I was testing—as well as all the cords and mounts that went with it—in a compact package. Made from rip-stop nylon, the Field Organizer isn’t waterproof, but it’s water resistant. The case zips securely shut; inside, you’ll find a variety of organizer flaps, Velcro-loops, and elasticized pouches. It’s the perfect place to keep your sailing instructions, your Wet Notes, and a pencil. The bright-yellow coloring will make the organizer easy to find when the five-minute gun blows and your skipper sends you digging through the spinnaker bag to verify the course (that’s where I like to keep my sailing instructions, though some day I’ll live to regret it when they go airborne with the kite). Better yet, since the sailing instructions will stay dry inside the Field Organizer, you won’t have to peel back the soggy pages to discover you’re headed for the wrong mark.
Peter Isler’s Little Blue Book of Sailing Secrets**
In his fourth book, SW editor at large Peter Isler mines his rich history on the racecourse to give readers a little bit of everything. “It’s designed as a meaty yet easy read for sailors and non sailors (who might be interested in our sport),” says Isler. “The short chapters include recollections, sea stories, tips, and techniques gleaned from my sailing career. I also asked some of my sailing heroes to contribute a chapter, and I’m proud that the book includes some great sea stories from folks like Ben Ainslie, Buddy Melges, John Bertrand, and Jonathan McKee, to name a few.”
SON-R Bungee Shoes by Sperry Top-Sider
Living in Cleveland—where it’s currently 40 degrees and raining—I spend this time of year daydreaming about the warm months when I’ll be able to wear something like Sperry Top-Sider’s SON-R Bungee shoes without my toes going numb. SW editor Dave Reed has already given the Son-R Bearing Bootie his seal of approval; I prefer the Bungee version. The open sidewalls allow your feet plenty of room to breathe, the internal drainage and hydrophobic mesh help the shoes shed water, and the Metatarsal Pods on the soles can improve your balance by providing, says Sperry, “sensory feedback delivering information from the [deck] through your feet to your brain.” Place these shoes on top of your dresser to serve as a reminder that summer will return. Promise.
Blow Jacket by Slam**
Here’s a gift the recipient can use right now. Slam’s Blow Jacket is a lightweight mid-layer that folds into its own pocket. The PrimaLoft One insulation is lightweight and resists water absorption; the shell is water-repellent, windproof, and quick-drying, so you can wear the jacket as an outer layer in milder conditions. For the current Volvo Ocean Race, Slam has partnered with Groupama to offer a line of branded products, including a Groupama version of the Blow Jacket. Given its portability and versatility, this is a jacket bound to see year-round duty.
$170, www.slam.com (For the Groupama version, click here.)
Odyssey Navigation Software by Nobeltec
Nobeltec designed its latest PC-based navigation software, Odyssey, to be easy to use, with an intuitive user interface and lag-free operation. The TimeZero chart engine allows you to zoom in, toggle between display modes, and access other chart functions without waiting for the software to redraw the chart each time you push a button. Odyssey comes with NOAA raster and vector charts, and three-dimensional data for U.S. waters, and you can download free high-resolution photos that give you a detailed view of shorelines and shallow water. You can supplement the included data with MM3D C-Map charts by Jeppesen and MM3D DataCore charts by Navionics. Give this gift to your favorite navigator, and they’ll be sure to spend the afternoon fiddling around on the laptop.
$399 ($199 for returning customoers), www.nobeltec.com