03 Dec Gifts for sailors, by sailors – 2018 Edition
It’s the holiday season, and we’ve been seeking out gifts for sailors that will make their nautical holiday dreams come true. We’ve updated our popular gift guide from last year with some new additions. The focus is still the same, though: we’re featuring gift ideas from small businesses that are run by fellow women sailors. We women in sailing have to stick together, right? Read on for great holiday gift ideas for all kinds of sailors. Click on the bold text to see more about these cool women-owned companies and gift suggestions.
The Rigger’s Wife
Sandy McLaughlin fell in love with a sailor and eventually fell in love with sailing, too. Her husband is a professional rigger, and made leashes for their dog from lines salvaged from his sail loft. He taught her the craft of splicing and soon she was making leashes too. That’s how the The Rigger’s Wife – “deck jewelry for your dog” – began in the lovely seaside town of Marblehead, MA.
The Rigger’s Wife makes beautifully handcrafted goods for pets and people, using shiny new stainless steel marine hardware, brightly colored double braid line and offering fun contrasting colors of thread to whip the splices in place. Each leash is finished with a signature Turks Head knot near the handle, and you can customize your leash by choosing the color of the whipping line. What pup wouldn’t look good in the Volunteer Leash and a matching collar? And in keeping with their mission, the Rigger’s Wife donates 5% of their profits to local animal shelters.
Melanie Cole & Vicky DeRouchey hail from Minnesota, the land of 10,000 lakes. They share a passion for the adventurous life, but kept coming up against the same problem: how to carry and keep electronic items safe while enjoying time in and around the water. That challenge led Mel and Vic, both over 50, to become first-time inventors and entrepreneurs with UGOwear.
The Ugo case is the first and only small profile, watertight gear bag of its kind – essentially, a waterproof life jacket for your phone and other valuables. It allows you to use your phone in the water due to its patented technology and airtight seal. It uses the same type of zipper found on drysuits; that makes the case completely waterproof and submersible. Not only will it protect your phone, but it can also hold your keys, money, medications, ID – basically all the important stuff. And it floats! We love the UGO Sport Case in electric blue. It’s great for sailing but also for paddling, dinghy rides, surfing, or any activity on or near the water.
Em & El Organics
Emily Trower-Young is a boat-builder by trade and came to skin care somewhat by accident. Persistent skin problems led her to research ancient techniques for skin care, and she began experimenting with essential oils and other natural ingredients. Eventually she developed formulations so good that friends and family said “you should sell this stuff!” – so Em & El Organics skin care was born.
Em & El’s products are all organic, and sourced from local providers whenever possible. We especially like the Boatswain Hand Cream, a rich salve made with organic shea butter, almond oil, and New York state beeswax. A perfect gift for sailors with rough hands after a season of pulling sheets and halyards. It’s available in both a handy travel size (stocking stuffer!) and full size. Plus, the packaging is fantastic!
Harrison & Pike
Tiffany Harrison Givens grew up in the sailing and marine industries on the Narragansett Bay. Her twin passions for design and the ocean led her to create Harrison & Pike, a line of nautical-themed rope & shackle bracelets. Each piece is hand-spliced in Newport, RI using traditional methods, and made from materials sourced in the USA. We’re swooning over their brass and leather Commodore Bracelet. Right now you can save 15% on gifts for sailors with the code FRIDAY15.
The Boat Galley
Carolyn Shearlock became a full-time cruiser over 10 years ago, and quickly found out all that she didn’t know about living on a boat – particularly the challenge of cooking in a small galley. Thus, The Boat Galley was born – a blog and web site with loads of articles, podcasts and checklists about every aspect of boat life. On The Boat Galley, Carolyn covers everything from buying a boat, to the inevitable boat repairs, to provisioning and food storage, to cooking aboard.
Carolyn and fellow cruiser Jan Irons spent years trading recipes and tips for “making do” without lots of prep space or appliances, and those learnings led to the creation of a unique cookbook. The Boat Galley Cookbook includes 800+ recipes especially designed for cooking within the confines of a galley, and extensive sections on substitutions (since you can’t find fancy ingredients everywhere). It’s the gold standard of sailing cookbooks – and a must-have for any food-loving boater. Actually, these recipes work equally well on land, which makes The Boat Galley Cookbook the perfect gift for just about anyone.
Maggie Lee Designs
Maggie Lee is a master jeweler who grew up sailing. From her Maggie Lee Designs studios in Stonington, CT and Lancaster, PA she creates timeless, elegant designs in precious metals and fine gemstones. Many of her pieces are nautically inspired, especially the Compass Rose Collection.
In 2007 a client asked for a custom piece of jewelry incorporating the compass rose, the symbol of her beloved Jeanneau sailboat. After researching the compass rose, Maggie found it stood for all she strives for in life: true north, adventure, exploration, staying the course, and journeys – all with direction and guidance . That first custom piece led to Maggie creating the entire Compass Rose Collection.
What’s great about this collection is that it’s infinitely customizable – Maggie can include coordinates for a special location, mix different metals, or add precious stones. We especially love the Classic Two-Tone 14K Gold Pendant, but the design is also available in earrings, rings, cufflinks and bracelets. This is a gift that will delight your special sailor for a long time to come.
Hoist Away Bags
Laura Emmer Cleminson escaped the corporate world to start her own Made in Maine business that combines her passion for design with her love of the water. Hoist Away Bags rescues old, abandoned sails and gives them a second wind as unique, eco-friendly, functional and fun bags. In a sea of recycled sail bags, Hoist Away Bags stand out because each one is a unique, one-of-a-kind creation. Laura uses virtually every part of the sail and incorporates all the original elements of trim, grommets and the main sail fabric into bags and other practical products.
Our favorite part of these bags is the “Sail Legacy” sewn into each bag, which tells the unique story of the sail’s provenance. Hoist Away Bags offers all kinds of bags including messenger bags, cross-body bags, wristlets, clutches, travel accessories and duffel bags. We’re fans of the Large Stowaway Bag, which has multiple pockets, soft but exceptionally strong nylon handles, and a drawstring top made from a recycled spinnaker – which is genius, because it keeps your stuff from falling out when the bag inevitably gets tossed around down below. Any sailor would love one of these one-of-a-kind, functional pieces of sailing history.
Carol Stolberg and Susan Mitchell are long-time friends and travel companions. On a trip to Turkey in 2011, they fell in love with the country and especially the textiles. Susan, a long-time sailor and liveaboard, recognized that the soft, lightweight, quick drying Turkish cotton was perfect for boat life. Together, they formed Marmara Imports, bringing exceptional fair trade, eco-friendly artisan textiles to the US and beyond. We love that they’ve partnered with a woman-owned mill in Turkey that provides employment for other women, empowering them to support their families through the ancient art of weaving.
If you’re not already on the Turkish towel bandwagon, get on board – they’re the best boat towels because they’re incredibly soft, super absorbent, dry quickly, and don’t mildew like regular terrycloth towels. For holiday gift-giving, we also love the Farmer’s Stitch Blanket, a double-layered, reversible throw in hand-loomed Turkish cotton. It’s perfect for a cool night in the cockpit, or cozying up on the couch at home – and comes in 11 different colors to coordinate with your boat or home decor. Through 12/18 they’re offering free shipping for all US orders.
And of course, when talking gifts for sailors we have to mention 12° West. Founder Julie Hylton started the company because she had a hard time finding good gear for women to wear on boats. 12° West provides a range of sailing basics in high-tech performance fabrics with contemporary styling – cut to fit a real woman’s body. Great gifts for sailors include the buttery-soft Saybrook Stripe Shirt, which puts a modern spin on the traditional striped sailor shirt. And it pairs perfectly with the customer favorite Sag Harbor Skort, a transitional piece that takes you from the boat to the bar in style. Or check out some of the new and limited edition pieces: the classy Charleston Boatneck Shirt or the easy to wear Key West Skort in fun patterns and colors.
To make gift-giving super easy, each order arrives wrapped in an eco-friendly reusable cotton tote, tied up with nautical ribbon. Through 12/20 get free shipping on US orders with the code SAILORGIFT18. Can’t decide? Holiday Gift Certificates allow your sailor to choose her own gear. Certificates are available in multiples of $50 & $100 and are personalized with the recipient and giver’s names. Holiday challenge solved!
Gifts for sailors 2018
We hope you find the perfect gifts for sailors on this list – and if you do, thank you for supporting businesses from these creative women sailors. Happy holidays to all!
We love supporting our fellow women sailors! Running a small business in a male-dominated industry can be a challenge. Read more about it in our journal post: What sailing and entrepreneurship have in common.
Also check out a new (and hopefully continuing!) initiative we joined this year: Something new: Women-Led Wednesday!