I recently overheard a couple walking along the footpath that runs through the marina as she asked him “What would you call a boat if you owned one?”
It was an interesting question but actually many boats are pre-loved and therefore come with a name already. It is considered by some to be very bad luck to rename a boat. When re-naming is undertaken, it is usually with a certain amount of ceremony and alcohol to appease
and prevent any bad luck hanging around – sailors can be a superstitious lot
Our first boat was already called Kate which suited her so we kept it. Tarquilla was named by her builder and we like the name so never had any desire to change it. We are occasionally asked what it means which is a bit of an odd question, as far as we know it is just a name. If anyone knows any different feel free to let us know! We got used to referring to her as Tar-kee-a or Tar-keel-a whilst we were travelling as the qu is pronounced differently in mainland
and it saved a lot of confusion; especially over a radio.
Kate - a Ridgeway Pirate 17
Some boats are named (or re-named) after special things. Words or phrases meaning freedom are popular for obvious reasons. Romantic names reflecting the sea, waves or the moon seem to come up quite often around marinas too. There are quite a few named after Greek Gods (such as Poseidon), characters from legends (Azenor) and mythical things (Pegasus). There are many boats, including lifeboats, named after people which can be a lovely way to honour or remember someone. Work boats often seem to have quite descriptive names - fishing boats called Pisces, ferries named after the rivers they cross (Tamar I and II) and one of our favourites, the fire-float Pyronaut.
Pyronaut the fire-float performing in Portishead
Then there are the supposedly comedy names. Some work, some don’t. When naming a boat some people seem to forget that they have to repeat their name three times over the radio whenever they call anyone, whether it is a harbour or the coastguards. A pun which looks amusing written down is often less funny when it needs to actually be used, especially in an emergency. If you want to waste ten minutes try Googling ‘funny boat names’. Just a warning though, some of them are a bit dodgy, best not to do it with the children
looking over your shoulder!
So, what would you call a boat if you were to name one?
Edited 22/1/2015 to make it grammatical!