Boatie’s Christ­mas gifts

Boating NZ - - Contents - BY KATHRYN HUNT

What to get a boatie for Christ­mas? Here are some ideas.

Christ­mas shop­ping for your boatie friends? Look no fur­ther. Ir­re­spec­tive of whether they own a launch, off­shore yacht or week­end run­about, one (or more) of th­ese gifts will be wel­come.


It’s well-known that cush­ions are es­sen­tial equip­ment on boats, as ex­tra pil­lows for un­ex­pected guests, or prop­ping up sea­sick crew. Th­ese, by My Heart Sings, fea­ture charts of the Marl­bor­ough Sounds, but ac­cord­ing to the web­site, can be sewn fea­tur­ing a chart of your choice. Could be use­ful if the chart-plot­ter packs up. They add a homely touch to the most aus­tere in­te­rior. But don’t buy th­ese for se­ri­ous rac­ers, the type who cut tooth­brushes in half to save weight; they have no truck with com­fort.


A well-priced use­ful gift for the gal­ley, which take very lit­tle room, and like all good boat­ing equip­ment, serve a dual pur­pose. Chop meat and veg­eta­bles on dif­fer­ent colours, then pick up and slide food into the pan be­fore wash­ing eas­ily in the sink to pre­vent food poi­son­ing. We use them as anti-chafe aids when haul­ing the cap­tain up the mast. Sil­i­cone mats are ideal to pro­tect work­sur­faces from hot casseroles and are also non-slip.


For years I sug­gested – OK nagged – on ev­ery visit to our lo­cal DIY store, that we buy a recharge­able LED light. The Boat Ogre in­sisted on us­ing his tra­di­tional hot, screwin bulb which blew reg­u­larly and guz­zled elec­tric­ity via the in­verter. For peer­ing into the bilges, search­ing for a dropped fas­ten­ing, il­lu­mi­nat­ing dark re­cesses of the en­gine or light­ing the gen­er­a­tor for an oil change, ev­ery boatie will thank you for one of th­ese un­der the tree.


An­other re­ally use­ful piece of kit for the gal­ley, es­pe­cially if you shell out the ex­tra for a lid. Avail­able from all chan­dlers, it can fry up the full English and also cre­ate casseroles and cur­ries. Rec­tan­gu­lar pan­cakes make a good talk­ing point and I use mine as a grid­dle to bake English muffins, as an al­ter­na­tive to heat­ing up the oven in this hot Van­u­atu cli­mate.


I am shar­ing an an­chor­age cur­rently (Port Vila) with Ernesto Bertarelli’s 97m Vava II. Even they need to wash up so will cer­tainly have tea tow­els on board. I found th­ese great nau­ti­cal ver­sions fea­tur­ing an­chors on a taste­ful grey back­ground in the shop where ev­ery­one gets a bar­gain. They came in a pack of three, so you could even give two away and keep one your­self.


Great for cruises. Just a glori­fied over­sized ther­mos re­ally, but it works ev­ery time to trans­form dried, pow­dered yo­ghurt (or a plain yo­ghurt used as a cul­ture) into de­li­cious yo­ghurt. This, we are told, is good for our di­ges­tion and helps to off­set dam­age caused by anx­i­ety when sail­ing in gales or stress when the boat­yard bill ar­rives.


This could save lives. Well, in­juries. Young Jess Wat­son de­scribes in her book True Spirit, how her wash­ing up liq­uid ran ev­ery­where. Floors be­come very slip­pery with this stuff, skulls can be banged and limbs bro­ken, so it’s best con­trolled. Soap dis­pensers for the gal­ley and the heads are re­ally use­ful, in­ex­pen­sive gifts.


The Boat Ogre thinks I’m ob­sessed with torches and he could well be right. I do own a lot. As I see it, wear­ing a head­lamp dur­ing night watches, just in case I have to leap forth un­ex­pect­edly in the pitch black to yank on a sheet or twid­dle a winch, is a wise pre­cau­tion. Keep­ing one in the dinghy makes sense for night time trips, but keep it hid­den. To the per­son who helped them­selves to ours in Opua Ma­rina: I hope you’re find­ing it very use­ful.


Our daugh­ters bought us one of th­ese a few years back. We thought they were frankly scrap­ing the bar­rel, ‘What can we get the par­ents this year?’ We were wrong: they were in­spired, it’s been great. It’s easy to read and track trends in the weather. Mine cur­rently reads 28°C and 62% hu­mid­ity be­cause I’m in Van­u­atu. Lucky me.


An­other gift for the gal­ley. Re­ally use­ful in a rough sea, they can be passed around safely and hot drinks can be eas­ily stored, and kept hot, if a sud­den sail change is needed just as you’ve poured the tea. And how often does that hap­pen?


I’m scep­ti­cal of quick-fix clean­ing clea prod­ucts. In my ex­pe­ri­ence, exp ‘el­bow grease’ is usu­ally u an es­sen­tial in­gre­di­ent. ingr But since a friendly frie boat­yard worker in no Opua rec­om­mended this, th his I am a con­vert – it is truly tr rul fan­tas­tic. Just one wipe, wip w and all that nasty brown b ro wa­ter­line stain sim­ply si im dis­ap­pears. Very wealthy wea w boat­ing friends no n o doubt pay oth­ers to clean c lea their wa­ter­line, but for fo or the rest of us, this is a great gr gift.


On long pas­sages, there’s noth­ing bet­ter than a good read (us­ing one of the torches). I get great sat­is­fac­tion from read­ing about peo­ple in a worse po­si­tion than me. It cheers me up.

A Voy­age for Mad­men fills the bill, fea­tur­ing the race made re­cently fa­mous by the The Mercy film star­ring Colin Firth.

Jess Wat­son’s book, pre­vi­ously men­tioned, is in­spir­ing and I like all the old sea tales by an­cient seadogs in the days be­fore GPS, when sail­ing was still often into the un­known. And what could make a bet­ter Christ­mas gift than a sub­scrip­tion to a boat­ing mag­a­zine such as Boat­ing New Zealand?


As a cruiser, the only gloves I had on board a few years ago, were pink rub­ber for clean­ing the heads or dis­pos­able vinyl for var­nish­ing the cap­ping. Then we bought our cur­rent boat from a rac­ing sailor and in­her­ited crew­ing gloves. Th­ese have trans­formed my sail­ing. No more risky rope burns or cuts from bar­na­cles when pick­ing up a moor­ing line. I can trim the furl­ing main sail with­out prob­lems, feed­ing it safely through my gloved hands. My bad pi­ano play­ing can no longer be blamed on sail­ing in­juries.

It’s well known that cush­ions are es­sen­tial equip­ment on boats...

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