Rudyard Kipling said, “a man can never have too much red wine, too many books, or too much ammunition.” Clearly, he never spent enough time with boat owners, because gadgets and gear are a blatant omission from that list.
As boat designers, we’re frequently bombarded with the same question this time of year: what gift do you get for the boat owner with everything? We of all people recognize that there is no limit to the number of toys and gadgets that can be crammed into every last square inch of deck and storage space. However, in the competitive world of who knew about it or had it first, we’ve put together a 2022 Gift Guide to keep you ahead of the competition.
Best Gift Under $500: GARMIN inReach® Mini 2 – Lightweight and Compact Satellite Communicator
Garmin has cemented its position at the top of the heap for two-way, global satellite messaging devices and services. The latest design improves on battery life, user interface, and works better with the corresponding phone app. Features include two-way messaging, SOS Alerts, location sharing, weather forecasting, and a connection to the 100% Global Irredium Satellite Network, meaning you have connectivity everywhere.
Price: $399 + $14.95 monthly subscription
Most Geeky: Njord Racing Analytics
We’re data nerds and we know it. But let’s be honest, data is now synonymous with winning in everything from baseball to Formula 1. So it was only a matter of time before a really good analytics software made its way to recreational sailing and racing. Njord Analytics provides professional reports instantly and allow users to explore data interactively including access to fancy maps and visuals to better understand the performance of their boat.
Price: First Upload Free – Subscription price based on boat type and frequency of use.
Most Sustainable: The GoSun Sport®
Solar power cooking at its best. While perhaps not the best option to cook a late night dinner, the GoSun Sport takes the daytime BBQ to a new level of sustainability. It can bake, roast, and steam a meal for two people in just 20 minutes under direct sun. It’s light and compact so you can take it anywhere. The Sport quickly reaches temperatures up to 550°F and is portable and lightweight for cooking on the move. It’s durability and collapsible design makes for easy setup and storage.
Most Groundbreaking: Starlink Maritime
As sailing purists, we fully understand that one of the great joys of bluewater adventure is the ability to completely disconnect from the civilized world. No emails, no phone calls, no problems. Well, nix that last part. The reason we like on-board internet is the power broadband delivers with respect to upping the info and safety game. Starlink advertises 350 Mbps down from anywhere at sea. What that means is better weather reports, real-time communication, and improved situational awareness. It also provides a whole new paradigm for the virtual office.
Unfortunately, Starlink Maritime is still being marketed to commercial operations and super-yacht owners and the price reflects that. However, the RV version is offered for a fraction of a cost and a few maritime MacGyvers have managed to integrate it on their boats with decent success (no official endorsement, Mr. Musk).
Price: $5,000 per month with a one-time hardware fee of $10,000 – RV Version $135/mo with a one-time cost of $599 for portable hardware or $2,500 for in-motion hardware.
Most Ridiculous: FunAir Inflatables
While we take sailing and racing seriously, sometimes you just have to cut loose – and hopefully not dislocate a limb in the process. Fun Air has a broad line of products that add both a serotonin and adrenaline factor to any anchor out situation. Their line of inflatable products includes everything from climbing walls and trampolines to floating lounges and beaches.
Price: Inquiry Required
Most Beautiful: Alison Langley Photography
Over the years we’ve worked with a number of incredible marine photographers. This year we’re featuring an artist in our own backyard, Alison Langley. Her unique talent for capturing the feeling and emotion of life on the water is apparent. Alison was influenced by her father’s love for photography and film, which led her to study film at NYU. Her fine arts background combined with years crewing aboard various yachts around the world gives her a unique perspective and lens through which she sees the world. Alison’s work has been published in numerous sailing and travel magazines, now it can be featured on your wall as well.
Most Practical: Revolve Boat Hook
We love something practical that can be stored in a small space. The Revolve Boat Hook has revolutionized the boat hook with its rollable technology. This 6′ boat hook can roll up to the size of a coffee cup, saving valuable space. This boat hook is also extremely lightweight, weighing only one pound. Being lightweight helps with handling and will reduce any potential damage to the deck if it is dropped. But don’t let the lightness fool you, the rollable composite material is durable and corrosion-resistant and will withstand anything mother nature throws at it.
Best Gift Under $75: Black Diamond Storm 500-R HeadLamp
We all know that sailor who seems to have the insatiable flashlight fetish. However, there is a case to be made about quality over quantity when it comes to the Black Diamond Storm 500-R HeadLamp. Sustainability highlights include a rechargeable 2400 mAh Li-ion battery with micro-USB charge port and recycled elastic headband. No more pile of half-used AAA batteries. To give it some legit marine credentials, the product is IP67: Waterproof-Tested to operate at least 1.0 meters underwater for 30 minutes. Settings include full strength in proximity and distance modes (perfect for spotting a distant mooring) and dimming, strobe, red, green and blue night-vision, and lock mode to help protect your night vision.
Most Stylish: Helly Hansen Midlayer Sailing Jacket
If you take one jacket on your next sailing trip, go for our favorite marine midlayer. Designed with the trusted HELLY TECH Protection fabric system – plus fleece lining – the all-purpose Crew is fully waterproof/breathable, windproof and warm. The jacket is enhanced with sailing features that include: sealed seams, a high collar, adjustable hem and cuffs, dual zippered hand pockets and a hangar loop.