Chandlery November 2011 Issue

Holiday Gift Ideas

Sailing gear for your gift list and wishlist.

November and its cooler temperatures herald several things for sailors—the end of sailing season for those in the north and the start of race season for us in the south—but it also marks the beginning of the holiday season. To celebrate, Practical Sailor editors have put together a roundup of gift-giving—or gift-getting—ideas. Here are a few of our perennial PS wishlist favorites and some new products that most sailors would be happy to find among their holiday booty.

The Mariner’s Book of Days 2012

Keeping Time and Tradition

Peter Spectre’s “The Mariner’s Book of Days 2012” desk calendar is a great gift for maritime history buffs and nautical-trivia hounds. With 2012 being its 21st year in publication, the 112-page calendar offers new nautical facts, fiction, and folklore in each edition. Spectre—the former editor of WoodenBoat magazine and current editor of Maine Boats, Homes & Harbors—does a great job of presenting maritime history in a usable and enjoyable format. The spiral-bound book, published by Sheridan House, features a weekly calendar on the right-hand pages and a smorgasbord of information on the left, including ship diagrams, quotes, sea chanties, glossaries, and “this day in sailing history” facts. You can pick up a copy for $16 online at

2012 Wooden Boat Festival calendar

Two wall calendars make our wishlist nearly every year, and both feature enticing photos of our favorite daydreaming fodder: wooden boats. Gumbo Publishing’s 2012 Wooden Boat Festival calendar chronicles the “most talked about wooden boat festival in the world,” the Port Townsend Wooden Boat Festival in Washington state. The calendar is filled with photos of the colorful boats and people that turn out for the annual festival—sometimes called the “Woodstock of wooden boats.” Along with the work of photographer Mitchel Osborne, the calendar also offers facts about Port Townsend and its surrounding waters. You can find the calendars for $15 online at A portion of proceeds go to support sailing programs for youth and adults in the Port Townsend region.

The Calendar of Wooden Boats, by Noah Publications, is one of our favorite wall calendars. Photographer Benjamin Mendlowitz captures the allure, tradition, and beauty of wooden boats with crisp, colorful images. The captions for each photo in the 2012 calendar are written by marine historian Maynard Bray and include facts and insights about the featured boat and its background. These make ideal gifts for wooden-boat enthusiasts. They can be purchased for $16 at

While our library is filled with how-to books and cruising guides, we also enjoy books that capture the spirit of sailing—be it in words or photos—and marine writer and photographer Ivor Wilkins’ latest work is one such book.

Classic, The Revival of Classic Boating in New Zealand

Classic, The Revival of Classic Boating in New Zealand” is a beautifully produced coffee-table book that celebrates the historic yachts of New Zealand—Waitangi, Rainbow, Ariki, Little Jim, etc.—and the people responsible for their survival. The 400-plus-page book features hundreds of historic and contemporary illustrations and photographs chronicling slices of New Zealand’s maritime history and the passion that spawned the recent classic yacht revival movement. Readers can follow the journeys of classic sailing yachts and dinghies, powerboats, and launches from birth to re-birth, and can enjoy the bits of New Zealand culture interwoven with the stories.

The limited-print book costs $75, but it’s truly an amazing book that would make a meaningful gift for those interested in classic boats, craftsmanship, design, and maritime heritage. (For views, visit www. You can order one from Paradise Cay Publications (, 707/822-9063) or other online retailers.

If the sailor on your gift list is more likely to appreciate a DIY-er guide to boat repairs or a bluewater-cruising handbook, then browse the PS bookstore at With titles including “This Old Boat” by Don Casey, “Advanced Marine Electrics and Electronics Troubleshooting” by Ed Sherman, and “Offshore Sailing, 200 Essential Passagemaking Tips” by Bill Seifert and Dan Spurr, the bookstore features many of PS editors’ go-to resources and the books we reference regularly in articles. New this season are Practical Sailor e-books on safety, maintenance, and other topics. The e-books, which can be bought as a complete series or as individual books, would make particularly good gifts for those sailors in far-flung places (Santa can deliver via email, saving you shipping costs!) or those with limited shelf space.

Next: Comfortable Cruiser

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