The Annapolis Book of Seamanship
by John Rousmaniere
Thirty-six years after it was first published, this classic book (by a very good friend of WindCheck) remains the definitive guide to the art and science of sailing. Comprehensively revised and updated to address the many advances in technology and safety standards, this fourth edition provides systematic step-by-step techniques to see you through every situation on deck and in the cockpit, from navigation and seamanship to boat and gear maintenance, and from pleasure cruising to heavy weather sailing. To instill a lifelong love of sailing in your favorite young person, sign her or him up for a Storm Trysail Foundation Junior Safety-at-Sea Seminar and give them The Annapolis Book of Seamanship.
Beau Lake Malibu Paddleboard
Inspired by vintage Gibson guitars and 1950s surf culture, the Malibu from Beau Lake is the ’59 Les Paul of paddleboards. Constructed of fiberglass and epoxy resins and wrapped in genuine rosewood with a Sunburst edge paint finish named for the iconic guitars that made it famous, this board is nice enough to hang on a wall. Available as an 11’6” flat water board, an 11’ wave board and an 8’ surfboard, the Malibu is just one of several designs featuring walnut, maple mahogany or rosewood veneers, all finished with highly polished, UV-protected polyurethane topcoats. You’ll also find lovely Beau Lake paddles – and classic-style electric runabouts – at beaulake.com.
Astral Designs Layla Women’s PFD
Although it was designed for paddlers, the Layla from Astral Designs is ideal for dinghy, catamaran, sportboat and foilcraft sailors, too. The quarter-zip side entry, adjustable webbing on the shoulders and waist, hinged princess seams, boob cups and super-soft organic kapok create an all-day comfortable fit. This U.S. Coast Guard-approved Type III PFD is available in glacier blue or eggplant in four sizes at astraldesigns.com.
Harken GP Catamaran Ceramic Mainsheet System
Boasting the lowest profile on the market, Harken’s Grand Prix mainsheet system is the hot setup for high performance beach cats like the Nacra 17 or F18. The compact blocks have hardcoat-anodized sideplates enveloping composite sheaves for easy disassembly and reassembly. The sheaves ride on insert-molded ceramic bearings that almost eliminate rolling resistance, providing easy, precise trimming for crews of all sizes. A fairing increases aerodynamic flow and protects the crew and blocks from impact damage. It’s delivered with a 12:1 purchase, but can easily reconfigured as a 10:1 or 11:1 system to align with wind speed or crew preference. To learn more, log onto harken.com.
Velocitek Prism Compass
On the Velocitek Prism Compass webpage is the phrase “Simplify, then add lightness.” Those words, attributed to Colin Chapman, the founder of Lotus Cars and a Commander of the British Empire, define the giant-killing Lotus sports racers of the 1950s and ‘60s…and the Prism. At a feathery 4.8 ounces, it’s the world’s lightest racing compass. Coupling unprecedented accuracy with a sunlight-readable, high-contrast LCD display and 250 degrees of visibility, its 1.1-inch digits are readable from helm to trapeze. Battery powered with solar charging, the Prism’s legal in all classes that allow electronic compasses. You’ll find more info at velocitek.com.
Bird Dog Bay Whale Tale Tie
Humpback, right, fin, gray, blue…there goes a narwhal! Hand-printed on 18 momme, 100% silk and constructed by hand in the USA, the Whale Tale tie from Bird Dog Bay is perfect for whale watchers and Melville maniacs. Offering a wide range of sophisticated yet whimsical men’s accessories and apparel, Bird Dog Bay has a long standing pedigree that keeps men looking Best-in-Show. Visit birddogbay.com to learn more.
Hobie Mirage Tandem Island
Hobie’s Mirage Tandem Island redefined “family daysailing,” and now this 18’6” kayak/trimaran is better than ever. With dual MirageDrive 180s providing forward and reverse pedal power, maneuvering is a snap even when the zephyrs subside. When the breeze is up, an easily tended, 90-square foot roller furling mainsail delivers abundant power. With a fully rigged weight of 240 pounds and pivoting crossbars pivot for easy transportation, the Tandem Island is simple to launch and beach. There’s a kick-up centerboard, and new for 2020 are Hobie’s ST Turbo fins that kick up on contact with an underwater obstacle. Capable of marlin-teasing trolling speeds, the versatile Tandem Island is Hobie’s ultimate fish hunter. Check it out at hobie.com.
Zhik Juniors Drysuit
The culmination of technologies introduced for testing during the Volvo Ocean Race, Zhik’s Juniors Drysuit avoids the bulk of traditional drysuits, and the race cut fit allows a full range of movement for competitive sailing across a range of disciplines. Fewer seams make this suit lighter and tougher, as well as more resistant to leakage. Neoprene neck and wrist seals provide extra comfort, and the Oxford abrasive panels offer high durability in the rear and knee panels. To peruse Zhik’s high performance gear for sailors of all ages, visit zhik.com.
Spyderco Atlantic Salt Knife
A knife is an essential tool for every sailor, and Spyderco’s Atlantic Salt is one of the best. Its sheepsfoot blade is made from H-1, a precipitation-hardened steel containing nitrogen instead of carbon, so it won’t rust. The serrated SpyderEdge delivers formidable cutting power, jimping on the thumb ramp enhances blade control, and the blunt, rounded tip reduces the chance of accidental punctures. The molded fiberglass reinforced nylon handle has an integral shackle key, and a reversible titanium pocket clip for right- or left-handed use. It’s available in black or high-visibility yellow at spyderco.com.
Radio Control Laser
A scale model of the world’s most popular “real boat,” the Radio Control (RC) Laser was designed to be up and sailing out of the box in under seven minutes. All you need is two feet of water and some wind, and the desire to have a blast racing against other R/C Laser skippers. Just snap in the keel, mast and rudder assemblies, slip in the batteries and clip on the sail and you’re ready to go. With more than 10,000 boats in the USA alone and a multitude of indoor and outdoor regattas, the RC Laser is the #1 one-design radio control sailboat in the world. To join the fun, visit IntensitySails.com.
Margaritaville Pet Swim Vest
With our friends at Margaritaville bringing their laid-back, fun-loving lifestyle to the Storm Trysail Club’s signature regatta as the title sponsor of Block Island Race Week, this year’s Gift Guide had to include something from the Margaritaville Store. Designed for dogs of all shapes and sizes, this colorful vest will keep them safe in the water. It has just the right amount of flotation in the perfect spot to help with buoyancy and not hinder mobility, and the fin will have your barkin’ boatin’ buddy lookin’ fierce…whether he or she’s a biter or not! It’s available in five sizes at margaritavillestore.com.
Freestyle Mariner Tide Watch
With tide direction, time and height for 150 beaches worldwide in addition to sunrise and sunset times, Freestyle’s Mariner Tide Watch puts ocean knowledge at your fingertips. It has a 50mm case best for fitting large wrists and a comfortable silicone band. This rugged timepiece is water resistant to 100 meters and it’s backed by Freestyle’s lifetime warranty. It’s available in Yellow/Black, Black, Black/Silver/Orange and Red/Blue at freestyleusea.com.
Steiner Marine 7X50 Binoculars
Your favorite watersports enthusiast will love Steiner’s Marine 7X50. Their rubber-armored construction is durable and waterproof, and ergonomic ridges and pads provide a secure, comfortable grip. The Sports-Auto Focus™ System lets you focus each eyepiece to your vision once, then keeps images razor sharp from 20 yards to infinity. High contrast optics provide bright, sharply contoured images, and the floating prism system uses flexible silicone lens mounts to absorb impacts. Scope them out at steiner-optics.com.
Mystic Knotwork Sailor Bracelets
The first and oldest knot shop in the United States, Mystic Knotwork in Mystic, Connecticut has been the source for nautical knots throughout New England for over half a century. Mystic Knotwork is the creator of the iconic Sailor Bracelet. If you grew up in the 1960s, ‘70s or ‘80s and are reading this, you probably wore one for years, showing off “bracelet tan lines” after a summer of fun in surf and sun. Mystic Knotwork offers a variety of handcrafted products including anchor, whale tail and shackle bracelets, nautical wedding knots, monkey fist key chains, door mats and much more, and you’ll find them at mysticknotwork.com.
RAGGEDedge Gear Card Sleeve Wallet
Built from durable, high-tech sailcloth that repels water, sweat and grime, this minimalist wallet holds four to six cards plus twice folded cash. RAGGEDedge Gear makes wallets in several styles and colors, and you can even design your own! Every RAGGEDedge Gear product is handcrafted in a solar-powered studio workshop in Meadows of Dan, VA. All materials are sourced within the USA, making the products 100% American made. To view their wide range of carbon fiber and sailcloth wallets, gear bags, briefcases and folders, visit raggededgegear.com.
Leatherman Skeletool CX
The sleek, pocket-size Leatherman Skeletool CX has only the most necessary of multi-tool features, because sometimes that’s all you need. With a partial carbon fiber frame, it weighs just 5 ounces and measures 4 inches when closed. You get a 154CM stainless steel blade, needlenose and regular pliers, hard-wire cutters, bit driver, pocket clip, a carabiner/bottle opener, and two bits (Philips #1 and #2 and screwdriver ¼” and 3/16”). Optional accessories include a nylon sheath, a 21-piece bit kit, and a bit driver extender. The Leatherman Skeletool CX is made in the USA, and you’ll find it at leatherman.com.
UST 30-Day DURO LED Lantern
This rugged lantern from Ultimate Survival Technologies has an impact and water resistant rubberized plastic housing and three 1.4-watt Nichia white LEDs that provide bright white lighting. Operating on three D-cell alkaline batteries, it has three flicker-free lighting modes: High (700 lumens, up to 20 hours), Medium (140 lumens, up to 106 hours) and Low (30 lumens, up to 30 days), as well as an SOS flashing emergency strobe that lasts for up to 15 days. It’s available in Orange, Titanium or “Glow” at ustbrands.com.
Victorinox Swiss Army Skipper Pro
With 12 functions, this seagoing Swiss Army Knife is packed with typical Victorinox functionality. It has a locking stainless steel blade with wavy edge (which can be opened with one hand), lockable marlinspike, can opener, bottle opener, screwdriver, wire stripper, reamer/punch, tweezers, toothpick, key ring, and a bright orange lanyard. Check it out at swissarmy.com
Stan Rogers – The Collection
During his all-too-short life, singer-songwriter Stan Rogers (1949-1983) made music that’s been called “one of the touchstones of modern Canadian history.” Not Canadian music history, mind you. Canadian history. Stan sang with a rich baritone voice as big and brawling as his homeland, and his song “Northwest Passage” is the country’s unofficial national anthem. This five-CD box set from Borealis Records includes such maritime classics as “Barrett’s Privateers,” “The Flowers of Bermuda,” “The Last Watch,” “White Squall,” and “The Mary Ellen Carter.” Also included is a special edition DVD of One Warm Line – The Legacy of Stan Rogers, and a five-song EP of rare, previously unreleased live recordings. Anyone who’s ever attended the International Sea Music Festival at Mystic Seaport Museum will love this, and it’s available at borealisrecords.com.
RainSong Carbon Fiber Guitars
RainSong’s all-graphite guitars have soundboards that won’t belly, sink or crack, and necks that won’t warp in changing weather. It’s been said that you could paddle a canoe down a river with a RainSong and play a show with it that night, so sailing from the Northeast to the Caribbean with one and playing it on a balmy beach should be a breeze. RainSongs sing out with a pure carbon tone, and their meticulous weaves, mother-of pearl sound hole trim, and “sharks” fretboard inlays are gorgeous. Need more shred-cred? Well, the incomparable Ian Hunter plays a RainSong. To discover the difference, check rainsong.com.
Ocean Winch Salt & Pepper Mills
Teak Base sold separately
Patterned after Lewmar winches, our mills will be the talk of the table! Made of anodized aluminum and marine grade stainless steel and featuring a state of the art ceramic grinding mechanism that allows for perfectly ground salt and pepper. Teak base sold separately features cork tabs on all four corners to prevent sliding or scratching your table. Base comes as raw teak, not stained. Whether offshore, at anchor, or in your home, our mills are guaranteed classics for your table. Uniquely Nautical! Visit defender.com to see more!
Nautical Chart of your favorite port on these incredibly comfortable microfiber socks. Available at dockshop.com.
The Ultra Low-Light IR Camera
Life doesn’t end when the sun goes down! The world’s first camera capable of capturing all life’s moments day or night. The Ultra Low-Light IR sensor technology not only captures images under low-light conditions but gives you true night vision capability in monochrome or in color. Available at dockshop.com.
Whale Handle Steak Boards
Handcrafted by Grant Tankoos from the finest maple and mahogany, these boards have an ample 3/4” juice groove and a pair of chrome plated brass whales. Available in two sizes with your choice of a single stripe or multi-stripe. A wide selection of handle and engraving options, these boards are the perfect platform for creating a unique and thoughtful gift for someone special, and the ordering process is fun: pick your handle, pick your engraving, and get on board at soundviewmillworks.com.
A Legacy boot paired with original designs by two young Alaskan fishermen, born and inspired by the wilderness of Alaska. Inspired by nautical tradition, and made for a community of fishermen, adventurers, and ocean enthusiasts. These boots are the ones you dress up, dress down, and get dirty because they’re just too cool and comfy to take off. Available at dockshop.com.