Wednesday, January 26, 2005

What's in a name?

Titanic Dinghy
Originally uploaded by Brite light photos.
26 January 2005

PARADISE VILLAGE MARINA, Nayarit, Mexico - There are some names that are less attractive for boats -- the one on the stern of this dinghy perhaps as good an example as any.
This particular craft actually belongs to the workers in the Paradise Village Marina who seem to have a sense of the ironic.

Or it could be that they inherited the dinghy from some cruiser headed south or west who couldn't face crossing the seas towing a vessel with such a famous name.

The names of the boats in the marina vary from the pedestrian (Obsession), to the semi-riske (Nasty Habit), a fishing vessel, to Moon Me, owned by a retired California Highway Patrolman. And sometimes the names are almost hilarious (Breaking Wind). The wife of the owner of Breaking Wind won't let him use his boat name on the radio. Instead, they use the location of their on-shore residence to check in.

Every boat name seems to have a great story behind it. Sabbatical came with us from our last boat, also Sabbatical. And we came up with that name because we purchased the last Sabbatical from Stanford University's sailing program. And, well, we planned on taking off cruising while we took our sabbatical from the university. Sabbatical was called Ocean Girl when Don Tiffin owned it and it was only with great reluctance that he let us change the name.

We play with the name all the time. Admiral Fox will report to people at the university that I am on Sabbatical this semester. Quite true. And the license plate holder on my little red Nissan truck says 'I'd Rather Be On Sabbatical.' Quite true again.

And every morning during the VHF radio roll call of boats in the area marinas, I am thankful for having an easily pronounced name. People who chose Spanish or Hawaiian names quickly find out that saying your boat name three times quickly (the way you hail other boats) can be a real tongue-twister with a name like Huanacaxtle.

One of the boats down the dock from me is called Revenge, allegedly because the owner received a big settlement from a lawsuit against a California politician about 10 years ago and used it to buy the boat. Down the dock from him is a boat called Quetzal, named for a bird found in Guatemala which is considered a national symbol of freedom. And next to me is a boat called Golden Dahlfin.

Yup, you guessed it. The owner?s name is Bob Dahl, a very successful Alameda, Calif. businessman.


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