The North Pole is a busy production zone this time of year, operating at a pace that would give an accountant at tax time the shivers. Santa and his faithful — yet sometime irreverent — elves are all working triple time to produce what they make there at the Claus shop. But more and more in this modern day, the elves find themselves at their desks, on the phone with company reps talking about “drop-shipping” and warranty-related details.
With that in mind, it’s time to think about the boater on your Christmas list. Perhaps you have no idea what this borderline-obsessed seafaring person needs, or perhaps you don’t know what any of this stuff is. Here is a list of possible ideas that might dial things in a little closer.
The sailor is arguably the most over-educated of the boating breed. I once met a yacht broker who said he hated selling sailboats because sailors were filled with an unhealthy amount of information. So with this group we must be careful.
Magazine subscriptions: Most sailors like to sit around and read about far-off destinations, techniques and merchandise, and generally immerse themselves in the sailing world. It’s an easy gift that can be obtained with one phone call. Sail magazine is a general all-purpose publication. Sailing World is great for the racer in the family and Latitudes and Attitudes is for the sailor who wants to travel the world as a lifestyle.
Specialized hammock: There’s a company in Florida called Coolnet Hammocks, at www.coolnethammocks.com/ that makes a hammock that’s designed to fit on the standard rigging of the majority of sailboats.
Covers and bags: There’s nothing like the feeling of a new sail cover, sail bag or canvas cover. Just tell Willie over at Mare Sails, (310) 822-9344 or Oliver at UK Sails, (310) 822-1203, in Marina del Rey, what you’re after and chances are, they’ll go out to the boat and measure for a custom fit of whatever you’re looking for.
Racing electronics: Companies like Tack Tick, Nauteek and Velocitek are making some great new products designed expressly for sailboat racing. If you have a racer on the list, check out the new product lines of these companies — it’s cutting edge stuff.
Now is the perfect time to rifle through the fishermen’s pile of gear and see if some of it looks like it’s about to fall to pieces. Fishermen use their equipment hard and it’s often in need of replacement. Here are a couple of ideas.
Reels: For good quality, fairly priced reels check out Avet Reels. They have a solid reputation and a lot of good fishermen swear by the craftsmanship. If you want to go all out and buy the top end jewel, check into the Limited Edition 75th Anniversary.
The Penn 50VSW comes in a wood box and word has it that it’s so attractive, most folks hesitate to take it out and actually use it.
Reels can be personal, so if possible, sneak the reel out and bring it to Dick at Purfields Pro Tackle (310) 397-6171, 12512 W. Washington Blvd., and he’ll help find a comparable model.
Tackle box: This is an item that is almost always in need of an upgrade. These things are constantly in a hostile environment and getting tossed around without mercy. Locally, check Purfields and Sports Chalet as well.
Videos: There are all kinds of fishing video out there — from instructional to entertainment-/travel-oriented — and many fishermen, when not fishing, love to veg in front of the TV.
Foul Weather Gear: Boaters are notorious for letting their foul weather gear turn to dust from overuse before replacing it. Check out what West Marine and Boater’s World have on their shelves. Musto and Gil are great brands that most boaters would love to have.
GPS: This one can be tricky for the unknowing, but a GPS (Global Positioning System) upgrade could add ten years to a rocky marriage. Check the model number of the existing unit and ask the customer service people at West Marine, Maritime Electronics on Washington Boulevard in Marina del Rey or Boater’s World what is the next model up.
Boat cleaning: I know Spevack Yacht Maintenance, (310) 717-0462, is running a special for washdowns this month. If that special somebody is a do-it-yourselfer, a break from washing the boat would be a great gift.