Nautical Valentine – Hopefully it’s not too late to think about this topic, as three separate people have come in over the past week asking my opinion on a sailing book, a piece of polished brass barometer and Sperry sailing shoes/boots. All three were from very nice women who do not sail, wondering if their Significant Others – all men who do sail – would want new gloves, a hat and a shiny new personalized winch handle- Maybe?

Here is what I think. *I* would like all of these things.   But – and this is a big but – these potential gifts aren't intended for me.

So, while always happy to accommodate strangers in a retail store asking if they can hold a men's sweater up to my shoulders to check for size, when it comes to buying a unique gift for a sailor I've never met, whose boat and gear inventory needs I do not know, involved in a relationship whose status is unclear, please, I beg of you, leave me out of this emotional minefield. Instead, please read on:

Now, it's no secret that sailors always need "stuff," are probably more than willing to give your amour some sort of sailing-related gift.  The big question that always arises at this point is, "What?"

Two words of advice here
1 It's not a tie, key chain, napkin caddy or ice bucket with a sailboat pattern.
2 Any other item you get is going to be the wrong thing

This isn't a criticism, just a simple fact. Unless your sailor has taken you by the hand and given you incredibly specific make and/or model serial numbers, along with desired finishes, sizes and colors, you are going to buy the wrong thing. Which is why I'm advising you to buy a gift certificate.

Please do not scoff.  You can always throw in a bottle of Mumm if my suggestion doesn't seem quite meaningful enough. I tell you this for free, although: in a million years, you are not going to guess that your sailor really wants two gallons of bottom paint.