If you have a fanatic racer or just a casual sailor in your family, consider a sailing-related gift for the holidays. Here are some ideas:
A sailboat (or just new sails). See the article in the Fall 2011 issue of the Eagle’s Cry listing all the reasons why owning a sailboat — instead of just sailing on EYC-owned boats — is a good idea. Among the top reasons is not having to worry whether you will draw an EYC boat on those days when the number of skippers in the draw exceeds the number of EYC-owned boats. Or, if your fanatic racer already has a boat, new racing sails are always appreciated, and will pay dividends on the race course.
EYC Membership. Do you have a son or daughter who is now too old to be included as a Junior member in your Family membership? An Individual EYC membership would make a great gift. Junior members (children of Family members under 25 years old) don’t have to pay the $200 initiation fee if they become Family or Individual members within one year after their 25th birthday! Or, maybe you have a grandchild who will want to take lessons next year. That grandchild will need to be a Student member in order to take lessons (unless his or her parents will be Family members). To download the membership application form, go to www.eyc.org/membership
Sailing Lessons at the EYC. You may be an excellent sailor, but perhaps your spouse or child would prefer to learn to sail from a professional EYC instructor in a relaxed atmosphere without any family dynamics? The EYC offers group and private lessons for juniors and adults. Keep an eye on the EYC website at www.eyc.org/lessons for the 2012 lesson schedule and sign-up link, which will be posted early in 2012.
US Sailing Membership. US Sailing is the governing body of the sport of sailing in the U.S. The member benefits are well worth the annual membership cost, including regatta entry discounts, a subscription to American Sailor magazine, e-mail newsletters (which include a lot of valuable racing how-to advice), and discounts on books and gear from the US Sailing online store. To join go to http://membership.ussailing.org
Sailing World Magazine subscription. This magazine is the only monthly published in the U.S. focusing on sailboat racing. Keep your sailor’s appetite whetted for next summer, with a year-round monthly dose of sailboat racing news and how-to. www.sailingworld.com
A Sailing Vacation. A winter (or spring break) sailing vacation with friends or family is a great way to cure the winter blahs and will provide memories to last a lifetime. Skippered and bareboat (unskippered) charters are available in spectacular locations all over the world. When you compare the cost of a week-long charter to the cost of a week-long family stay at a resort, you will be pleasantly surprised. Among the best — and closest — places for first-time charterers are the British Virgin Islands. Just Google “British Virgin Islands Charters” for lots of information.
Sailing Gear. Does your sailor need a new PFD, sunglasses, sailing gloves, foul weather gear or sailing shoes? Check out West Marine www.westmarine.com or your local yachting store.
Books and Videos. Search the Internet for books and videos on sailing, covering every subject from the racing rules and tactics, to dramatic accounts of to solo circumnavigations, to idyllic sailing getaways. Examples:
Understanding the Yacht Racing Rules and Winning in One-Designs by Dave Perry
The Annapolis Book of Seamanship, by John Rousmaniere and Mark Smith
Sailing for Dummies, by J.J. and Peter Isler
Sailing Alone Around the World, by Joshua Slocumb
The Greatest Sailing Stories Ever Told, Christopher Caswell (ed.)
Fifty Places to Sail Before You Die: Sailing Experts Share the World’s Greatest Destinations, by Chris Santella
Atlantic High, by William F. Buckley
For videos on a variety of sailing subjects, including basic instruction, cruising guides, and the classic movie Captain Ron starring Kurt Russel and Martin Short, search on amazon.com under “movies and TV” for “sailing”.