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Find the Perfect Holiday Gift for your Sailor

Updated: Nov 19, 2020

Looking for some sailing-themed gifts for the holidays?

· Tackle Box Gear: Colored duct tape, 2mm or 3mm Spectra cord, Plastic box for tools- screwdriver, pliers, marlinspike, sail tape

· Books: Dove by Robin L. Graham, Maiden Voyage by Tania Aebi, The Raft by S.A. Bodeen, The Winner’s Guide to Optimist Sailing by Gary Jobson

· Knots, Monkeys Fists and Crafts: Knots, Splices and Rope Work: Learn How to Tie Knots Like an Expert by A. Hyatt Verrill, SpeedyJig Paracord Bracelet and Monkey Fist Jig

· Spray tops/Dinghy Smocks and Sailing Gloves: Gill, Windrider, Helly Hansen, Magic Marine.;;;

· Digital Watches: Timex Ironman or something similar with timer/countdown.

· Technical Gear: Check out for custom buffs, grab bag shirts and more. for water-friendly sun-protective tops and bottoms.

Making sense of Cold Weather Gear:

Once the summer sun is no longer shining and the water gets colder, it’s time to think about some cold weather gear. There are many different types, and you need to think about water and air temperature when deciding what you need. Keep in mind that the air temperature may be similar in the late fall and middle to late spring, but the water temperature can be vastly different at these two times of year. From top to bottom, here we go—

1. Winter hat- a winter hat in fleece or cotton is indispensable from October to April. Often, a fleece buff or gaiter is helpful as well.

2. Spray top- a spray top or dinghy top is usually waterproof and breathable with wrist and neck Velcro or elastic closures. It is not meant to be “water-tight,” meaning that if you were to fall into the water, you will get wet. It is best thought of as a first line of clothing in the early fall or late spring, usually worn alone or paired with spray pants or a wetsuit, and is extremely useful when the air temperature is above 55 degrees and the water temperature is above 68 degrees Fahrenheit. The cost of a breathable spray top is $80-$130. You can buy them used but need to make sure that the waterproof lining is not peeling away. Avoid leaving your spray top in a car or anywhere where it can be exposed to extreme heat.

3. Spray pants- Spray pants, bibs, dinghy pants or rain pants are waterproof and usually have elastic or Velcro at the ankles. They are usually not lined for warmth. Salopettes usually have a slimmer fit and come up more to the chest than offshore bibs, making them more comfortable for dinghy racing. You will get wet if you fall in. Cost is $100-$350.

4. Wetsuit- Wetsuits come in short, long, and farmer john (overall) styles. They can be an affordable way to sail late into the fall and/or spring, especially when paired with wetsuit socks, neoprene boots and gloves. Wetsuits can get water inside them but should be close-fitting enough that body temperature warms this water. Your wetsuit should be 2mm or 3mm/2mm thickness at most to allow for mobility in arms and legs. Cost is $50-$150.

5. Drysuit- A drysuit is a full-length nylon suit with tight rubber seals on wrists and neck and either rubber ankle seals or full rubber booties. It is intended to keep your body completely dry, even if you capsize. Sailors wear standard long underwear/base layers and fleece insulating layers underneath. Cost is $350-$650.

6. Gloves- Gloves come in fingerless, three-finger and long/winter varieties. Once the water temperature is under 68 degrees, you will need either full-finger winter/neoprene gloves or a combination of knit gloves, rubber dishwashing gloves and fingerless gloves. Fingerless/short finger gloves are $25-$35. Winter gloves are $30-$50.

7. Wool or fleece socks- fit inside of boots. Anything hydrophobic/water-repellant works. Cotton does not.

8. Boots- Neoprene sailing boots can be used year-round and are made by Ronstan, Magic Marine, Gill and others. Generally, diving boots cannot work as a substitute because they do not have a non-slip sole. Cost $40-$90.

Happy Holidays from the BCSC Family to Yours!

--Angela Kozlowski (BCSC Board Member)


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