06 Dec Gifts for sailors, by sailors
It’s the holiday season, and we’ve been seeking out gifts for sailors that will make their nautical holiday dreams come true. This year, our gift guide has a special twist – 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.
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 natural and 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. Perfect gifts 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 Nautical Collection
Kat Hanafin (aka the Girl with the Most Flags) is a New England-based photographer who shoots nautical weddings, seaside family portraits, and commercial work for nautical brands. Kat also shoots major sailing events like Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez, St. Barths Bucket Regatta and the Candy Store Cup, capturing amazing images of magnificent sailing yachts in all their glory. Lucky for us, some of her best work is available on The Nautical Collection, an online gallery of nautical and sailing themed prints. We already own several of her works, and now we have our eye on the J Class Worlds Limited Edition 16×19 framed print. Wouldn’t it look fantastic on your favorite sailor’s wall? Browse the gallery to find gifts for sailors of all persuasions.
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 – and the Compass Rose Collection was born. 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. To make gift-giving super easy, each order arrives wrapped in an eco-friendly reusable canvas tote, tied up with nautical ribbon. Through 12/20 get free shipping on US orders with the code EASYGIFT18. 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!
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.