Am I the only one that sees “other” names in boat names? Must be.
My first boat, my little brother and I borrowed $400 from my father for. I was 13, he was 11. He bailed out rather quickly, and it was just mine. It was an old wooden M-16 Scow found in a garage. At this point in time (the late 60s), wooden race boats had been supplanted by fiberglass, almost completely. Except for this guy who worked for our sailmaker. He’d become one of the top M-Scow sailors in the country, in a wooden boat. So, we followed Skip’s lead. We gutted the thing, sanded off the hull down to bare wood, and varnished it. It was light – so light we had to put lead in it. Right after I got it, my Dad and Carl took it for a spin. And promptly broke the mast. My “new” boat, and they broke it. I have a general policy of not renaming boats. It’s bad luck, unless you go through a huge ceremony. Even still, it’s bad luck. The boat name was “Mistral”. A cold north wind. Some enterprising soul added an I to it. “Mistrial”. That was funny.
My Dad bought a new aluminum spar, and told me “just move all of the hardware from the old mast to it”. So I did. We raced that boat for 2 summers, and did alright with it. Rick, Jim and I did manage to break another mast. We were a good mile in front of the rest of the fleet, it was blowing in the 30s. Rick kept saying that as the mast flexed, he could see the top of the ball it mounted on. I chose to ignore it. Bam! It went. Along with my 1st place win.
The second summer I raced that boat, Skip had gone to “the dark side”, and had commissioned a new fiberglass boat for his run to win the national championship – which he did. I bought his new boat from him at the end of the summer, and traded my old one as part of the deal. Interestingly, I talked to him a couple of years ago, and “Mistral” was still in his back yard. Never touched… Ouch. The new boat was “titty pink”. Or, so my friends said. Definitely pink. The name Skip had given it? “The Gay Termite”. Perfect. It replaced a wooden boat.
About 15 years ago, my little brother bought an outboard boat, motor and trailer, basically because he wanted the trailer, and they threw in the boat. You might remember these – Glastron ski boat, avocado green, 1970s, walk thru windshield. Outboard of the same vintage. A total piece of ugly crap. But it ran. The name of the boat was “Loade”. I have no idea, what that meant, but it was on the boat when he bought it, so he kept it (didn’t want any bad luck). He kept it at Mom and Dad’s, in the back yard. I saw it sitting there, and my mind immediately went to work. I stole a roll of black electrical tape from my Dad, and got to it. The boat’s name became “I’m Loaded”. Remember, it’s a piece of crap. That name is either a brag, or an admission. With this boat, it’s not the first one. And my brother had no idea that I’d done this.
A friend of his borrowed the boat (we always swapped boats – you didn’t need to own a ski boat if you had a friend with one), and took it out. He managed to get stopped by the Coast Guard – and I’m sure the name had something to do with it – again, it was an admission. He got a ticket for not enough lifejackets, and didn’t bother to tell my brother. A few weeks later, my brother received an important looking document, Registered Mail. He opened it up, and on government paper, it announced the contents: “The United States of America vs. I’m Loaded”.
A few years ago I got back into competitive sailing up on Canyon Lake, north of San Antonio. Charles had managed to get his hands on an Olson 30. This was one of the first ultralight keelboats. It weighed only 3600 lbs, half of which was in the lead keel. It was a rocketship. He’d bought this boat “fully equipped” with about 16 sails. We raced it right away. After the first weekend, the local chandler (ships store) guy started meeting us AT THE PIER as we came in, order pad in hand. Every sail we had delaminated – this means the mylar covering on the sail came loose – like plastic wrap – and covered the entire crew. We actually got into fights with it! One day we came back and couldn’t get below there was so much peeled sail material in the cabin. Anyway, Charley would be there with his order pad in hand, and Charles would run down the list of broken items that needed replacement.
It was one of my jobs to get to the boat early on race day, and clean the bottom – the boat was stored in the water in a slip. So, using my own electrical tape, I christened the boat: “Busted”. Again 2 meanings: a broken boat, or a broke owner. Seems like #1 resulted in definition #2. It stuck – and we still refer to the boat in stories as “Busted”.
About 5 years ago, friends when through a boat upgrade, and bought a Morgan 45. They were both born on the same day, about 20 years apart. For whatever reason, they chose “Dos Libras” for the boat name – they are both Libras, I guess. But in South Texas, do you really want a boat name that also means “Two Pounds”? I mean, DEA has to think like the Coast Guard did when they busted “I’m Loaded” don’t ya think? They went through a really cool re-naming ceremony, that is supposed to avoid any bad luck.
So much for that.
I looked at the name and thought “I can do something with this”. We had friends in from Australia, and they eagerly agreed to help. We were going sailing during the week, so we knew Bruce and Tammy weren’t going to be around. And they know we aren’t on the boat during the week, because I work. Gail offered to donate a couple of garments she had, since they were her travel ones, and well worn. So, while Peter hoists on the flag halyard, I put some white paper over part of the name. When Bruce and Tammy arrive at their boat, there are 2 brightly colored Australian bras up the mast, and the boat name has gone from “Dos Libras” to “Dos Bras”. At first, she was only mildly amused. Now she thinks it’s hilarious.