What’s In a Name?

07 January 2019

The final countdown has begun for the crews of 28 boats starting World ARC in 2019. The 15 month circumnavigation will see them cover some 26,000nm and visit 19 countries but the rally is about more than simply sailing around the world visiting amazing places; it’s about the people and the boats sailing together. Crews on board cover range of ages, nationalities, backgrounds and aspirations but all share an adventurous spirit. Equally the boats that will take them around the world are a mix of catamarans and monohulls, old boats with thousands of miles under the keel and new designs freshly delivered from the factory.

Assembling for the first social function of the rally, each crew was asked to introduce themselves and explain the reason behind the name of their boat. After the enormous challenge of purchasing the right boat, which in most cases is no small feat, next comes, for most, the tricky task of naming it. For some it’s an obvious choice but for others it takes great participation from friends and family to create the perfect name.

Many millennia ago, boats were traditionally named to honour a deity to safeguard them from the perils of the seas. It was believed that if the gods were respected in this way they would protect them from the elements. Names of Saints were similarly used.

In more modern times there have been many twists on the traditional themes and the introduction of more emotional reasons for naming a boat as participants found out at the World Cruising Club Welcome party at the IGY Rodney Bay Marina in St Lucia. The stories shared by the crews were diverse and fascinating, and a great ‘ice-breaker’ to get to know one another as the adventure begins.

Involving loved ones’ names is a great way to name a boat. Babsea is perhaps the most simple but loving. As skipper Helmut Lexen explained, he named his boat after the two great loves of his life; his wife Barbara and the sea. Udo and Heike John on Endo 2 named their boat after their late beloved German shepherd dog who clearly was adored and very much part of their family – their boat logo carried on the bow of the Skorpion IV also features his portrait.

Clever names like Rubicon IV references the skippers passion for ancient history. The river Rubicon marked the boundary between the roman province of Cisalpine Gaul to the northeast and Italy. It was against the law to cross this river and therefore, once you crossed the line of the river, there was no going back. Vladamir explained this was part of his inspiration for setting off with his family on the great adventure ahead.

Chao Lay is another good example of naming your boat in a more traditional way. Michael Schaaf lived in Thailand and the name of his boat comes from the Moken tribes who are also known as sea gypsies which translates in Thai as, Chao Lay.

With the spin on tradition and the location of home is Makara of Exe. Makara appears in many myths, and is endowed with magical powers, especially those related to rivers and the sea. With several ‘Makaras’ already registered, skipper Mike Reece chose to add a nod to the river Exe in Devon which runs near to home to differentiate the boat.

The name Nica comes from the Greek goddess of strength, speed, and winner – appropriate for the Finot ConqFC53 by Knierim cruiser-racer which is set to be one of the quickest boats of the fleet. Skipper and owner, GormGondesen, a keen racing sailor, also told the partygoers that his wife Maren is a horse trainer and their choice of logo reflects this. They have a large print of their logo (a horse’s head) on their spinnaker so when Maren is at the helm as it opens it makes her happy with a reminder of her love of questrianism.

Some owners are inspired by the boats themselves; Sky’s hull is light (sky) blue in colour and owner Jopie said that the name ‘just stuck’. Others have been inspired by the journey they are about to undertake, choosing a name to captivate exploration of the new oceans and places they will visit on the circumnavigation. 

Tintin is a combination of several inspirations; as owners Jo and Rob chose this name because not just their boat is made from metal, but also after the fictional character of Tintin who is involved in lots of adventures, and was created by a Belgian, just like their Boreal 47. He also admitted it was the only name all the family agreed upon!

Owners, Laura and Frank on Sweet Dream had a ‘sweet dream’ to sail around the world. Patrick and Sandra Miller were similarly inspired by the forthcoming rally and ‘Hope’ to make it round the world.

Sometimes there is no need to find a new name. Aurora B, a Hallberg Rassy 42, has already completed a circumnavigation and was purchased by Ed and Gemma in 2017. With many believing its bad luck to change a boats name they have stuck with the original boat name which they believe links to the natural electrical phenomenon, the Aurora Borealis.

Finally names can be thought of at a very early age as Henrik on Zwerver explained his boat name translated into English means ‘wanderer’. It was also the name of a famous J class sailing yacht which was much admired by Henrik as a small boy and he vowed if he ever had the privilege of owning his own boat this is the name he would choose. He finished the introduction by stating “not all wanderers are lost” an ideal which was firmly agreed with by fellow World ARC crews.