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Visions of Boating Plums
By Barb Hansen
December 3, 2003

In the month before Christmas all through our offices the hottest items in the daily mail delivery are holiday gift catalogues, especially the ones selling boating gear.

Just as weíre settled into tackling the to-do lists of work, the clatter of familiar footsteps outside alert Vic and I to the real priority of the day, laying claim to the best four-color printing that bulk mail can bring. Oh, we commiserate with our blue-suited St. Nicholas about his heavy load, but then we shut the door, close the shutters, divvy up the booty, and speak not a word as we get straight to our work.

Vic, a nuts-and-bolts kind of guy, really gets excited about hardware for hull and home. What quickens Vicís pulse are new navigational tools and, Iím not making this up, the latest stud finder. I have also noted a certain attraction, as it were, for weather instruments Ė barometer, thermometer, anemometer, Doppler radar. Hmmm?

Even after the holidays are over Vic and I will continue to cruise vicariously through the boating equipment catalogues and the new gear pages of the boating magazines. For us, these are the gifts that keep on giving.

Here are some of the items that have caught my eye. Naturally, the ones with the dearest price tags jumped out at me first.

When your sweetheart says "the sky is the limit," he must have had the Aeroboat in mind. This creation is part aluminum boat and part glider with a 34-foot wingspan. When you hop aboard to go gunkholing, you might not be the most popular cruiser in the anchorage, but if you can afford the $21,000 price tag, I suppose you'd have your own island, too. (www.hammacher.com)

If you are a traditional navigator like Vic, you would like nothing better than to be offshore alone with Tamaya. The Tamaya Spica Sextant from Weems & Plath, that is. This top of the line navigation tool is a favorite of ocean-going navigators. It comes with its own carrying case for $1,379.99.

Can't afford a Hummer? Never mind, it won't fit on the decks, anyway. However, you can make the Hummer statement as the proud owner of the Hummer folding bike. The Hummer LX is $795. (www.hummerstuff.com)

The Anniversary Collection, offered by our friends at Weems & Plath, (weems-plath.com) manufacturers of fine nautical instruments. Quartz Clock, $599, and matching Barometer, also $599. I like this set, especially, because Vic and I are celebrating our 20th anniversary (business and marriage) in 2004.

For the guy who has everything on his desk except a clock, the gimbaled Box Clock is a high quality quartz clock inside a beautiful mahogany box. Price: $299.

If you are buying for a gear head like Vic there's no shortage of gadgets for boaters who like to be hands-on in the marine maintenance department. When just a Sears gift card won't do, try Fluke's (www.fluke.com) new Digital 170 Multimeter ($219).

When the GPS fails, it's time to fall back on ages-old and proven nautical tools and Weems & Plath has the best:  The Primary Navigation Set has all the basics for charting, including plotting tools such as dividers, parallel rules, and nautical slide rule. Itís all packaged in a plastic storage pouch. The set sells for $44.99.

Alas, for those who take their boating pleasures vicariously, settle in with a good boating book (www.bluewaterweb.com) or get your mate a subscription to one or more of the great boating magazines that serve our dreams and days off.

One of the greatest gifts you can give each other is time. How about making time for a boating vacation? How about giving yourselves a charter yacht vacation, a liveaboard sail or power boating course, or even a new boat? Vic and I can arrange a gift certificate. And if youíre a last-minute shopper, thereís always a gift card from West Marine (www.westmarine.com) for the boater in your life.

If you want that sleigh to arrive loaded with boating toys, do your homework. Let those visions of boating plums dance in your head.

And, from Vic and all our crew on site, wishes for a happy Christmas to all and to all a goodnight.
 

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Marinatown Marina 26° 38.5'N 81° 53.0'W
Burnt Store Marina 26° 45.71' N 82° 04.20'W


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