Boatie’s Christmas gifts
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.
FLEXIBLE CHOPPING BOARDS AND SILICONE MATS
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.
LED INSPECTION LIGHT
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.
BOATIES FRY PAN
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.
BOOKS AND MAGAZINES
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...