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post #4 of Old 08-04-2008
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Perhaps I have a different vision of some things than other people, either because I have been out here too long, or because there are too many 'real' issues to be concerned about to waste time worrying about silly-ass superstitions.

Here are the criteria I, in my limited intellect and absence of starry-eyed romanticism, find important:

1. A name IS important as it allows others to hail you without the ridiculous, "Ah, sailboat with no name! Um, unnamed vessel! You're dingy has broken loose. Ah, well, nevermind then." And other such discouraging radio transmissions. So, you need a name.

2. The name of a vessel, any vessel, is for ready identification. It is not to promote your favorite political opinion, illustrate your need for feminine attention, declare your masculine prowess, or lack thereof, make a dirty joke, or impress us all with your wit, profound intelligence, or superior ivy league education. No one gives a crap. It is for ready identification and ease of use.

Ease of use is readily illustrated by this short story: A friend of mine named his 40' sailboat 'Zubenelgenubi'. Isn't that beautiful? It's Arabic and is the name of the last star or the navigation list. It means 'Southern Claw' and refers to the Scorpion Constellation. It's such a damn shame the guy trying to hail him to warn him he was flying at Devils Back Ridge near the entrance to Boston Harbor, couldn't even begin to pronounce the name, and excited screaming over the radio failed to alert my buddy that it was HE who was in danger. $13,000 in damages, but a really clever name. Too bad it didn't work.

3. There are some boats that have a long and fondly admired history, and I do agree that nautical nostalgia begs that such vessels not be subjected to renaming after transfer of ownership. To maintain the boats' identity opens the door to many pleasant dock conversations and the meeting of many new friends. It's usually a good thing to keep such names.

Other than that, pick out a sweet, short name that's easy on the eyes and transom, and clear and distinct over the radio. It's a name, not a declaration or indictment, just a name. And there is no bad luck, voodoo curse, crossways mojo, or Davy Jones attachment to it. If there were, half the boats I've seen should have sunk, burst into flame, or spontaneously turned pink with shame. And you just don't see a lot of that.
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