By John Andreotti
A few posts back, I mentioned some boat names we’ve used and some that we’ve observed. I’m fascinated by what people name their boats and by what drives that selection. I also have some definite opinions on the matter. For example, I really don’t like risqué, suggestive names. I believe boat names should be displayed properly and they should be somewhat understandable. We often see a boat name on a power boat with a fishing cockpit or a transom door which may say My Asset when the gate is closed, but when the gate is left open and you can’t see the last two letters, well, you get the picture.
Cute and funny is always appreciated but ostentatious or “braggy” is a turnoff. A play on the boat type or brand such as Grand Times on a boat built by Grand Banks is entertaining.
The popular names are, well, popular. We have probably seen a thousand Moontide, The Office, The Other Woman, Liberty, Endless Summer, Island Time, Odyssey, Liquid Asset, Miss Behaving, Lazy Daze, Luna Sea, Reel Time, Seas the Day, Fantasea , etc . Maybe not surprisingly, most of the above make the list of the Boat US ten most popular boat names year after year.
I like names that tell a story or define the boat and/or its owner in some way.
Some of the boat names on our many boats have been inspired by current happenings or perhaps by a comment someone made before the boat had a name. I won’t bore you with the “Miss——- “ones driven by current infatuation with the opposite sex, but at least those can be painted off – which is more than you can say about a tattoo! I try to remind my grandchildren of that fact and explain aging and nature’s effect: that beautiful butterfly becomes a beat-up moth as the years go by; but that’s another story for another time.
I mentioned in a previous story the catamaran that my brothers and I built in the basement. It accidentally got blue paint splattered all over the white base coat and instantly became “I. C. Spots”. The next one kept sinking on us; hence “Under Water;” then a drought of creative thinking, so “No Name” was given to its successor one. Our next boat was built in the garage because Mama would not tolerate – again – our widening the basement door in order to get the boat out, the result of mis-measurement. Who would have thought we were cabinet makers with the adage ‘measure twice, cut once’ seared into our souls?
Because it was built in the garage, Mama named this boat The Auto. Then came a catamaran with two outboard motors. This was our first real race boat, the first one officially entered in an organized race. We won a trophy, by the way, in an endurance race from Sacramento to Colusa and back the next day, up the Sacramento River some eighty miles in each direction. This boat made such a funny noise with both motors screaming that many called it The Beehive but its name was actually Two Much!!
Now we had to come up with a series of new boat names because we had to build a newer, faster boat every year. One was not very pretty, but particularly fast; you guessed it, Ugly Boat; but in Italian, Barca Brutta. The next boat, a beautiful yellow and red hydroplane of my own design was very fast and striking. With no name assigned to it yet, on its maiden tryout we pushed it harder and harder until we were able to get it to do eighty miles per hour, an incredible speed at that time for a boat of twelve feet in length with a brand new Mercury outboard capable of generating sixty horsepower. Unfortunately, upon reaching eighty-one miles per hour, the boat would make a sudden left turn, throw the driver out and keep going unless you were attached to the kill switch, which would turn it off. In that case, you would swim back to it and get towed to the dock. This happened a dozen times and we could never fix it.
In frustration, my Italian friend Leo, who was also my pit manager, advisor and father figure, said to me in jest “Stupido, you built this boat lop-sided, you crazy Wop. That’s it, I know what’s wrong, you built it Wop-Sided”. The name stuck, we fixed the problem, and Wop Sided won many races and was followed by several boats all named Wop Sided.
Finally, we decided to buy really well designed boats built by pros, starting with a super light hydro named simply Boat with a motor named Motor, a trailer named Trailer etc. I never loved the boat and, when I thought it was no longer competitive, I gave it to Frank, Leo’s son and my son figure.ß Of course he beat me regularly despite my racing in a new, fancy, expensive boat which we had named Love It or Leave It in rebellious satire of the late sixties.
Love it or Leave It included American flags, red white and blue uniforms and Uncle Sam hats. Quite a spectacle! Frank had now renamed Boat, “Cosa Nostra,” (Our Thing in Italian) and eventually forced me to retire Love it or Leave It.
Now on to several bigger and bigger boats, all but one named Wop Sided until our present boat.
We fell in love with Poseidon and kept the name she had proudly worn since her birth in 1971. She truly lives up to that name – the mythical Greek God of the Sea.