Thursday, May 19, 2011

Name Calling

Naming a boat is a delicate process.  Everybody seems to have differing criteria for choosing a name.  There are a lot of good boat names out there, and some truly horrible ones.  Some are clever inside jokes that may seem stupid until you are "in the know".
I find it almost more difficult to name the tenders we carry with our bigger boats.  Most sailboats have a small inflatable Zodiac-style boat that they use to get around when the bigger boat is anchored.  Some carry a small rowboat, and some carry both.  It has also become popular to carry kayaks, either plastic sea kayaks or inflatable ones.  All these boats should have a proper name, and in my eyes that name should have something to do with the boat itself, the bigger boat it serves, or in a best case option, both.
The first sailboat I lived aboard named herself.  With an interior of varnished mahogany and crimson colored interior upholstery, in the evenings with the interior lights on she literally glowed from within, and hence the name "Warmheart".  I took her north from Seattle one summer and bought a small red inflatable Zodiac for the trip.  It was several weeks into the trip when I was dragging the inflatable up on to a beach in the freezing rain and the name came to me, "Cold Hands".
Our current sailboat is named "Baraka", which is an ancient Sufi word, roughly translated as a blessing, or the essence of life from which the evolutionary process unfolds.  Pretty heady stuff.
In 2009 when we took our four month trip to Glacier Bay and back, we had two small boats with us.  The first was a very small rowing pram that we carried on the forward deck of the sailboat.  It was painted to match Baraka, red with a horizontal white stripe, and became known as "Mini Me". (Any other Austin Powers fans out there?)  Our other tender was a grey inflatable with an outboard motor that went fast and seemed to splash a lot even on calm days.  Nicole and I decided it needed a less serious name to offset "Baraka", and it became know as "On Porpoise".  We gained and lost several tenders over the next couple years, and by the time we were ready to leave on this trip we had inherited a nesting rowboat from our friends Tor and Jess.  This is a boat that comes apart into two pieces that fit one into the other for storing in a small space.  It fit well on the forward deck and was already painted red to match the sailboat.  One of the criteria in us buying the boat was that we keep it's name, so we are now the proud owners of "Poor Tender".  The other boat we have with us is another inflatable.  This is a catamaran style boat, with two lower inflatable pontoons that keep the middle portion of the boat out of the water when it is lightly loaded or speeding along under power from our outboard motor.  This style of boat has good and bad aspects, but one of the good points is that it tracks fairly well under oar power because of the twin hulls.  This boat is also red to color-coordinate with our sailboat, so it seems another good fit.  So once again the pressure to arrive at a suitable name was upon us.  Nicole mentioned that many of my land vehicles were named for their color, and so we played in our heads for a while with the color red, and I finally came up with Rose.  Nicole decided we could go one better, and we present to you the newest member of the family, "Rows".

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