Chandlery December 2006 Issue

Gadgets, Gear, and Goodies

Itís that time of year again: Time to hunt down those last-minute gifts for the boaties in our lives. And because many sailorsí wish lists come with hefty price tags, PS editors decided to put together a roundup of less expensive goodies well-suited for stuffing stockings. We scoured the booths at recent boat shows and came up with the following:

Sea Fever Gear

From baby bibs, blankets, and shower curtains to decked-out jeans, bags, and vests, Sea Fever Gear turns old sails into the most practical or stylish items. The brainchild of Penny and Pixie Haughwout, Sea Fever was born when the sisterly duo found themselves unable to throw away old sails that held many memories of their childhood sailing adventures. They decided instead to make them into mementos. Ten years later, they still work out of their living rooms, but now they offer a wide selection of unique products. PS editorsí favorites are the shower curtains (complete with port-holes), fleece-lined scarves, and the lightweight, colorful Nauti-Nities. Prices vary, starting at $1.

Calendars and Cards
One perennial favorite nautical photographer among the calendar and card crowd is Onne van der Wal. The Dutch-born Rhode Island resident has been in the business for 20 years. A seasoned yacht racer who has won numerous awards for his photos, van der Wal captures the spirit of sailing through unique angles and lighting. His products for next year include the 2007 nautical wall calendar ($16) and the Classic Sailboats note cards ($15) pictured here.

Another boating photographer known for his classic shots is Benjamin Mendlowitz. Celebrating its 25th edition, The Calendar of Wooden Boats by NOAH Publications, with art by Mendlowitz, includes photos of such beauties as a Buzzards Bay 15 and a 95-foot Fife cutter. The anniversary calendar includes a pullout of all 25 calendar covers. ($15)

Key Buoy
For the gadget guru in your life or the captain who seems to always lose things over-board hereís a gag gift that he might actually get some use out of: the Davis Key Buoy ($7), a PFD for your keys. When the key chain hits the water, it opens up, automatically releasing a self-inflating tube that floats up, bringing your keys back to the surface within 30 seconds. The 14-inch, bright orange float extends well above the water for easy retrieval.

We just had to test this. Davis claims the float can support 4.2 ounces for at least 40 minutes, so testers attached a 4-ounce lead sinker to the keychain and tossed it overboard. As advertised, the unit rose to the surface in 24 seconds and was easily seen and recovered. The Key Buoy is a one-shot deal, so itís not the most economical way to keep track of your keys, but it is small (1.1 ounce and is the size of a standard car alarm key fob). 

Shackle Dog

The Shackle Dog is a multi-tool of a different nature. It can be used to do up or undo shackles, open deck plates, and most importantly, it can pop open any cold beverage of your choice. The anodized aluminum (or carbon fiber) puppy ďA Sailorís Best FriendĒ can fit on a keychain, in a pocket, or on a lanyard. At $8, itís a great gift for your crew. (The more you buy, the cheaper they are.) And you can even have them engraved upon request. 






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