A Boat By Any Other Name

S/V ????

The taxes are paid, the boat is registered, and we have insurance for Andrew’s boat. All that remains is finding a local marina more convenient than the one in Gig Harbor where the boat is currently moored. And a name. Andrew is thinking about what to name this vessel since the she doesn’t have a name already.

Naming a boat is a weighty responsibility.  Our first boat, the Saucy Sue, was so named after a linefrom a Black Adder episode. Our family knows all the lines from all the episodes. We are complete Black Adder geeks. The name fit the boat, a diminutive Catalina 27 that was quick and responsive and seemed many times to have a mind of her own. She had’sauciness’ to spare. Mike named that boat as soon as we got her; another boat that had no name at the outset. It seemed like the name really described that boat’s personality,or at least what we projected onto her.

The Sue being extra saucy!

Then there is Moonrise. Our current Cal 34 has been called Moonrise for many years and I never wanted to change it. When I first learned that this was her name, I knew she was the boat for us. It does suit her. The word conjurs up images of peaceful nights, of romance, of the mutability of the feminine. We have always seen Moonrise as a graceful vessel, a little like a woman with southern charm. Images of the moon suit her. The moon also represents emotion, those energies that wax and wane like the moon. She has certainly touched our hearts, bringing both great joy and a feeling of freedom.

Moon rising over S/V Moonrise. How cool is that? We are anchored at Penrose State Park, all alone!

We wonder, sometimes, at the names we see on boats. Many people apparently like to use a double entendre to make some kind of a point in naming their vessel. Sometimes that will cause us to cringe collectively, almost reflexively rolling our eyes. We saw a boat named ‘Miss Isle’. Really? You think maybe she’s fast? Then there was ‘Vitamin Sea’. Okay. There’s a boat in our marina called ‘Our Third Love’. We don’t know what that means. We hope the owners know. Then there is the ubiquitous ‘Luna Sea’. ‘Lun a cy’. Get it? HAHAHAHA! Right. You get the point. I’m sure somewhere there is a book on boat names. Or probably an internet site. Because someone has to make this stuff up and it’s certainly not me.

We recently looked at a lovely Cal39 that is in the running as ‘the boat’ for us. The
boat’s name is ‘Saila V’. Now, ‘C’est la vie’ isn’t ncessarily a bad a name for a boat,
but really? Why couldn’t they have simply used the French expression? It’s not a ‘cutesy’ boat, it’s a lovely boat. Why have a cutesy name? What’s strange is that this expression is generally said with somewhat of a shrug. It’s a dismissive expression and gesture used in response to something negative. You could say ‘shit happens’ and it would mean almost the same thing. When we looked at the boat, I sort of shrugged and felt like ‘meh…’. And it’s a nice boat that is very well kept and has a layout exactly like the one we saw months ago that I’ve frequently wished we had bought! I should have been pretty excited about it. I wonder if the feeling tone of the name had infiltrated this boat. If we buy that boat, the name is going away fast. I’ll have to look at it again and see if it still leaves me with the same feeling.

Compare this with the name ‘Spellbound’, which is the name of the Westerly 39 we looked at up in Anacortes and is reviewed on the boat page. That boat grabbed me right away. I must have been under a spell of some kind because I still like that boat, even though it has many, many more faults than the recent Cal 39, and it is going to need some likely major repairs. Is the name speaking to me more than the actual boat? Maybe in the future I should remain ignorant of the vessel name when looking for the first time because it’s clear that logic plays little part in the feeling one gets about a boat.

So Andrew has run through a number of possibilities in naming his new boat. Right away I thought of ‘Sea Monkey’, a playful name with just a touch of a nod to Poseidon. Just a touch. He thought of ‘Saucy Sue’ because he has such fond memories of that boat and he learned to sail on her. Of course he’s also thought of ‘Mopey Teen’, and ‘Slack Bladder’ (another reference to Black Adder). Imagine hailing someone on the VHF, saying either of those names three times. He is ever the amusing lad. “Mopey Teen, Mopey Teen, Mopey Teen, this is your mother. Do you copy?.”

Andrew at the helm of Saucy Sue in his REAL mopey teen days.

He won’t know until he sails her what the name should be, but maybe you readers already have ideas. What would you name a boat like this little Ericson 25? These boats are described as fast, tender, pointing well, sailing like a boat much larger than they are. Sounds like they are little boats with big hearts. What would you name her?

24 thoughts on “A Boat By Any Other Name

  1. One of the funniest names I’ve ever seen for a boat was “Last One IV”. Poor guy just couldn’t quit.

    You should force him to name the new boat, “My Parents are the Greatest”.

  2. I am partial to Sea Monkey. And I agree that you need to look at a boat before you find out the name of it! The wrong name is a real buzz kill.

    • I’m partial to Sea Monkey, too, but it’s his boat and I don’t know if his age group has the same feeling about sea monkeys that ours does. I’ll have to look at ‘Saila V’ again, and I own’t think about the name this time.

      • I do not like Sea Monkey…sorry. To me it sounds like a kids toy. The Windtravler people have called their new baby girl “Sea Monkey” for a year so maybe that’s poisoning the water for me.

        He’s a young man! The boat needs a strong name. In my opinion.

        • They call their child Sea Monkey?
          Well, we have lots of votes for Sea Monkey, but no suggestions about an alternative name. I’m sure Andrew’s friends are chiming in with their opinions. Hopefully we’ll get the boat in the water today, and then we shall see!

  3. Yeah, I love it. But, again, his boat. A long time ago we learned to climb the mast and thought about a business called ‘Mast Monkey’. Could be a viable business while he is in school. People always are looking for someone who can safely climb the mast. Future post in the works!~

  4. Some name Suggestions:
    Brass Monkey (if he likes the Beastie Boys)
    Far Horizon(s)
    New Horizon(s)
    Nothern Exposure
    Maximum Exposure
    North(ern) Star
    Pacific Star
    Point North
    Tabasco (kina like Saucey Sue and from Louisiana!)

    Can’t wait to hear what he names it!

    • Hey, I love Pacific Star! And Orion. I love boat names that reflect the heavens like that. But I also like bird names like Falcon. I will run these past him!

    • Love it! I remember that phrase. I always loved how that rolled off the tongue. I’ll run that one past him , too. Looks like we have to wait until tomorrow to get the little boat. Not enough time tonight. Rats.

  5. Lady Bug. The reason for this is we had a little 6 year old boy on board for our naming ceremony. This kid is a the cutest darn thing you have ever seen. He happens to have autism, so he was unable to grasp that the Coast Guard already had the paper work with our chosen name on it. I want more than anything for someone to take his suggestion of Lady Bug “Lady Bug. That’s a good name for a boat because they fly” so I can show him photos of his chosen name on a transom. 🙂

  6. Well I think that’s an awesome name! I will put it on the list. I don’t even want to post what names the kids have come up with so far. Believe me when I say that Lady Bug is way better.

      • Alas, Lady Bug is likely not in the running. Personally, I think it’s a cute name, but Andrew is, after all, a 20 year old young man. He’d never live it down. So, Dani, just for you here are a few of the names that have been joked about, especially between Andrew and his sister, the other comedian in our family. I don’t think much imagination will have to be used here: Sea Man, Mopey Dick, Slack Bladder (another Black Adder reference) , Disgruntled Turtle. I’m sure there were more. He still hasn’t chosen one.

  7. I’m just now getting caught up on your post’s. If you still don’t have a name for her how about “Ship Shape”

    • That’s cute! We’ll add that to the list. Hopefully Andrew will put naming this boat on his front burner after his cruise this weekend!

  8. Ran across this while searching for our next boat name and really enjoyed reading through your blog. All our boat names reference the moon – we love the moon & make an event out of every full moon, super moon, eclipse, you name it, we’ll celebrate it. We’ve had Full Moon Fever, Shoot the Moon, To the Moon (combination of “cheers” and my husband is a water ski jumper, but passers by always asked me if my name was Alice, ha!). Even our (white) dog is named Moonshine. I think this next boat is probably going to be be Moonlight Madness. We need to quit changing boats, I’m running out of original ideas. Good luck to Andrew on finding the perfect name.

    • That’s a lot of boats! Love the ‘moon’ names. Moonrise came with her name and it just suited her perfectly. There’s a boat around here named ‘Moonshadow’. Love that name, too. Hope you come back and visit again!

  9. Pingback: Streaming the Consciousness of Names | Little Cunning Plan

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