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Cruising with Charlie: Names

What’s in a name you might well ask? Well, for sailors who have just launched their new yacht (or newly acquired yacht) the christening of it is of primary importance. It is how you and your yacht will be perceived.

There are definite categories that boat names slot into. There are the funny ones, the romantic ones, the sexy ones, the erudite ones, the ones that signal a financial windfall and those that honor a wife or daughter.

Of all the names out there most use the ‘double entendre.’ Wet ‘n Wild is one of my all time favorite boat names and conjures up exciting sailing and kinda challenges female crew members. The racing boat ‘Slippery when Wet’ comes into the same category as does ‘Foreplay.’ Some boaters can be cunning linguists… “Go to slip 69, starboard side to”

‘Sailbad the Sinner’ must be a re-incarnated pirate. ‘Passing Wind’ elicits a laugh at first glance but after that you are tempted to anchor upwind of him. ‘Never Again’ is rather clever because it reminds all of us that we have at one time or another sworn to ‘never do this again.’ But then the memories of magic moments tend to overshadow the nightmares and we find ourselves once again back at the helm. There’s even a ‘Never Again 2.’

The yacht name ‘Pair o’ docs’ denotes that the owners are a pair of medical practitioners and perhaps the paradox might be that two docs could never be on a sailing vacation at the same time.

Some yachties favor names of Greek gods, planets or constellations. A friend of mine named his boat Aeolus, the Greek god of the wind. When he started chartering everyone wanted to know the history and story of Aeolus. The poor captain became so bored with the re-telling of the same story over and over and over that eventually he told his inquisitive guests, “Aeolus means anal sex.” That put an end to any further enquiries.

Those who have had cash windfalls sometimes pass on the message. ‘Wall Street,’ ‘Arbitrage,’ even ‘.com’ have been seen in anchorages recently but somehow the aura of cold capitalism fails to inspire any warmth or camaraderie of the sea. Some one less fortunate named his boat ‘Aloan at Last.’ One can envision a guy who has lost the house, the car and the life savings but never-the-less has cut the unwanted ties.

In a similar vein some choose acronyms. ‘Fujimoh’ is not a Japanese general but rather F#$% you Jack I’m outa here.

If you’re not careful you might send out the wrong perception entirely. Charlie named his first boat ‘Prudence’ and everyone thought he was being a bit prudish. Really, though, he had named it after a particularly ravishing young beauty from Belize who ‘danced like a flower in the wind.’ Perhaps he should have named her Windflower instead.

And lastly there are those who attach no significance whatever to a boat’s name but they are really the exceptions. Anyway, who cares? For me a clever, witty or romantic name is a pleasure… and ‘Dancing Bare’ has nothing to do with Winnie the Pooh.

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