Finding an affordable gift for your favorite skipper can sometimes be difficult. Not everyone can afford several hundred dollars for the new Hi-Tech Halyard or several thousand for a new Sail.
Here are some easy DIY projects you can do or low cost ways you can say thanks to your favorite skipper or boat owner.
Since they are low cost they are also excellent for someone you want to do something for but don’t want them to feel obligated to give you a gift in return.
If you missed last weeks article on DIY gifts, they work well for skippers also, note the Lanyards for Pelican Hooks / Gate Hooks. DIY Gifts for the Holidays
And during the year there is always the old standby of offering to help clean the boat or help them when they need a hand working on the boat.
Whipping the ends of lines is easy and quick to do and seems to be appreciated by every boat owner that I have surprised by whipping the ends of some of their lines.
Depending on how good of terms you are with the skipper, you could wander by their boat a few days before Christmas and fix the ends of their lines for them, or give them a gift certificate good for having the ends of their lines cleaned up and whipped. It does not cost much for some whipping twine and a couple of needles, you will also need a palm, but ask around, you can probably borrow one if you are polite, or there are some inexpensive ones that you can buy.
Fender Whips, standard fender whips made from full sized line can be difficult to tie and after a few years nylon, especially three strand gets stiff and difficult to tie.
I strip the center out of double braid line and that makes it much easier to handle and holds knots better than a full sized piece of line.
For better resistance to sunlight use Dacron / Polyester line, it also comes in more colors than Nylon.
These can be made ahead of time if you know the size of line that goes through the center of the fender. Make sure you make the whips long enough, I make mine a bit extra long so they can be tied to the handrail on the cabin top and the bottom of the fender touches the water.
Part 1 is for fenders that have a hole running through the center of the fender, Part 2 is for fenders that have an eye in the end.
For fenders with an eye in the end us my Improved Fender Whip – Part 2.
You can custom make the whips like the picture, or the eye can be made large enough the whip can be fed through the eye and attached like a luggage tag.
Make sure the whips are long enough, since you are custom making the whips, they can be any length you want. Mine are long enough to let the bottom of the fender drag in the water when tied from the handrail on the cabin top.
Use Dacron / Polyester line for improved UV resistance over Nylon.
NOAA is now making all their charts available as free PDF downloads and most of the charts are also available in BookletChart format. BookletCharts are special versions of full sized charts formatted for printing on both sides of 8.5 x 11 inch paper, these can be spiral bound for a nice easy to use chart on a small boat.
If you have a friend that is a Kayaker, download the full sized charts and print sections of their favorite Kayaking area and laminate the prints, for an added bonus print on both sides of the paper. Punch or drill holes in the corners of the laminate so the sheets can be fastened to the kayak and not get lost.
A Navigators “cheat sheet” or Reference Card is a great addition to anyone’s navigation kit or navigators station.
The card helps prevent errors when the navigator is tired, and neater than burning TVMDV-W into your navigation station with a wood burning tool.
The card has common formulas used in charting on one side and charting notations on the flip side.
Great gift for cruisers or someone that is getting their Captains or Masters License.
The card is half a letter sized sheet. Print on bright colored card stock to make it harder to loose, laminate for use on their boat. Cost: about $3.- for two cards. Most print places have the bright card stock in stock.
I have been giving these out for several years, some instructors give these out to their students in their navigation class.
I hope that these ideas work as nice for you as they did for me.
– c / m –