Boat Names

Hello!! -Evan sailing s/v Wind Affair on Geist (Oct 2012)

Recently, it seems I have come across a lot of talk about boat names on discussion boards, and among boaters and blogs I follow. Some of these folks were searching for advice on whether or not to rename their boat. Others were looking to poke fun and the myriad of ridiculous boat names that are out there. Others still, offer sound advice on things to consider when naming a boat.

Because the boat naming and hailing port issue (I will address that in another post) is something that is always running in the backs of our minds, I decided to tag along for this particular ride and give you our thoughts (so far) as well as ask for opinions if you feel like giving them.

So! To rename or not rename? That’s a great question. There are so many reason people choose to, or not to rename their boats. Here’s small list that I have compiled:

– History – The history of your boat, or maybe more importantly – what history you can find –  is a valid consideration when it comes to naming or renaming your boat. I recently started reading Sundowners’ blog. (Click on their name to link to their page.) Through some research, they are in frequent contact with previous owners. They were able to discover a LOT of history about their boat, and they have a kind of respect for s/v Sundowner that creates a beautiful relationship with her. In Danielle’s words, they ” …decided it would be a sin to rename her..”

– Ownership: Other people feel the need to rename their boats because they want to feel a stronger sense of ownership. You know, letting go of the past, putting your own mark on things, and making a new history.

– Meaningful/Representative: Some people just want their boat name to be meaningful or represent them well. Bumfuzzle (Click on the name to link to their page, too.) noted that people often referred to by the name of their boat or an abbreviated version of it. In their case, “The Bums.” They feel is perfectly acceptable and maybe even appropriate. This is definitely something to keep in mind especially if you are wanting to do something really witty – like naming your boat “Bow Movement” or “Wet Dream.” These last two came from a particularly amusing blog about stupid boat names to which I cannot stop returning in order to read and laugh again. Please visit and amuse yourself. I just hope your boat isn’t on the list, and if it is… just laugh and own it. Here is the Link.

-Radio hails and Maydays – Ok. Choose whatever name you will. Be it funny or creative or classy or whatever the boat came with, there is one area that many of us probably don’t think about right away. Radio hailing. If you’re cruising, you will eventually have to use your radio. You will also need to identify yourself. Will your boat name leave you giggling every time to have to say it? Perhaps in the beginning, but that humor might wear off after time, and then  will it just be an eye rolling stimulus? What if you encounter an emergency? You will need to identify your vessel and spell it phonetically via the International Radio-telephony Spelling Alphabet. A=Alpha, B=Bravo, C=Charlie and so on. Will you sound ridiculous calling for Coast Guard support? How long will it take you spell out the name of your boat? Will you be able to do it with adrenaline pumping through your veins? Just more food for thought. Bumfuzzle has a blog about boat names as well which I find to be an amusing and good read as well. Check it out here.

– Superstition – Here is another issue. I have come to find that Cruising and Boating in general are full of highly superstitious people. Historically, you can find lots of ideas promoting good or bad luck for a boat or voyage. Everything from gender to fruit can be found if you dig, and naturally renaming your boat is on that list. In many circles, renaming your boat comes with very specific ritual or pomp and circumstance, which if not followed to the letter will bring about the apocalypse or something. One sailor I talked to told me that I would need to run the boat aground 3 times (among some other steps). When I said I had absolutely no intention of running my boat aground, he laughed loudly, all but patted me on the head, and said, “We’ll just see!” Ok. Yes, I know that happens. I didn’t say it wouldn’t happen. I said I had no INTENTION of doing so. Just like I had no intention of doing so on THIS DAY!

Now let me say a few words about s/v Wind Affair.  After purchasing our new-to-us boat, we took some time to consider the items that we wanted to add, remove, update and change.  It didn’t take us long to determine that her name was not awesome, but it was also not completely stupid. Cheesy? Yes. Cliche? Certainly. It wasn’t bad enough to go through the trouble and expense of renaming her and then having to remove the painted on name from her hull, repaint, and/or design and order a new decal. There were more important items on our To-Do List. After all, she is over thirty years old. She has her own history, and none of it includes sinking. For me, this is good enough!

Now, how we will choose our boat name for “The Big Boat” may very well be a different story. We will considering everything on the above mentioned list before making out final decision, and you can be sure that we have put a LOT of time into it already. We have a few ideas. Hedonistic Values was our first choice in the beginning. While it represents us very well, we are uncertain if we want our boat name to be that long. We have our blog here, and it may be representative enough. And then, of course, there is the possibility that we come across a boat with some kind of amazing history that will lead us to not want to change the name. We have time, clearly. These are just things on our minds.

So, now I pose the questions to you. Are you yet a boat owner? What are your ideas for your future boat? Are you a boat owner currently? Did you accept the name already bestowed upon your boat, or did you rename your boat? How did you decide? What name did you choose and why? Would you do it that way again? Are there other considerations that you feel might be important not yet addressed? Inquiring minds want to know!!

Wind Affair under sail October 2012

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