It’s been just over a year since we purchased nameless C-22 #10330. You wouldn’t think it would be hard to come up with a name. That is, unless you want a name that isn’t already on somebody else’s boat and one that both you and the first mate like.
A boat’s name is supposed to be a sacred thing. Okay, maybe not sacred, but there is more than a little superstition surrounding boat names that causes hard-core sailors to go to great lengths to pick the right name, hold to it tighter than their wedding vows, and stage elaborate ceremonies when christening a boat with a new name. At least, the name should evoke the spirit of how it is used and that of its owners.
I wanted a name that sounded bold and adventurous like the great sailing ships of the past. Something like Dauntless, Intrepid, or Venture. They also sound like ship names from Star Trek, don’t they? Mrs. $tingy, however, wanted something that sounded fun and whimsical, like: Fun Size. We had a long way to go to find middle ground.
Finding a needle in a haystack
I came up with about 100 names over the course of the past year, searching for that perfect name. I kept track of every one. I primarily used two websites to check for taken names: the United States Coast Guard’s vessel data base and the BoatUS Boat Names list. It’s amazing how many boats across the US have the same name. I really didn’t want to pass by another boat someday and see our boat’s name there. When I found a name that wasn’t already listed on either of those sites, I did a Google search in case it was mentioned anywhere else on the web. About a quarter of all the names I came up with weren’t taken as far as I could tell.
All winter while working on the boat, I kept thinking of new names. It seemed like every time I had a good candidate, I’d run it by Mrs. $tingy and she would shoot it down in flames in seconds. Not in a malicious way, it’s just that we’re opposites in many ways. I suppose that’s one of the reasons that keeps us together. But after all, I reasoned, it’s her boat too and I want her to like as much about the boat as possible.
As our Spring recommission launch approached, I was beginning to feel less and less hopeful that we would find a name that we both liked. I started imagining calling it #10330 forever.
“There’s a certain nostalgia and romance in a place you left” – Dave Guterson
Then one day it came to me. I remembered the night that Mrs. $tingy and I first met almost 40 years ago. I tried to recall the feeling of that night and thought of how it was similar to the feeling we get out on the lake under full sail and an August sun. When you feel young, hopeful, free, and time stands still during magic moments that you remember the rest of your life.
I searched the web and couldn’t find a single reference to this name in the context of a sailboat or yacht. I mulled it over all day and cautiously floated it by Mrs. $tingy the next morning, choosing just the right moment when she was in an especially good mood. I led up to it slowly, trying to get her to recall that feeling to and to remember those long gone days of Montana summers. She liked it immediately, Eureka!
So here, for the first time in the history of the world, I announce the first ever sailboat named…
Wait for it…
Drum roll please…
Wait for it…
Now, if any of you smartalecks out there have ever seen or heard of a boat by that name, don’t write me just to shoot my horse. I don’t want to hear about it, ever ; ) And because I know that some of you are just mean enough to do it (even if you have to lie), know that I won’t believe you anyway. I’m going to hold on to this little piece of fantasy for as long as I can.
Without pomp and circumstance
It’s not enough to simply give a boat a name, you also have to put it on the boat to publicize it to the world. In true DIY fashion, I ordered vinyl lettering from DoItYourselfLettering.com. Theirs is the best and most complete website I’ve found for easily designing every aspect of your boat lettering online. Our lettering arrived within days.
After a thorough cleaning with rubbing alcohol to remove any wax and carefully choosing a level base line on the transom, I followed the easy to understand instructions and rubbed the new lettering on.
Finally, after 33 years, Catalina Yachts 22 #10330 is officially named Summer Dance. May every day and night aboard her be as exhilarating as that August night in 1975.
“A rose by any other name would smell as sweet” – Romeo and Julliette, William Shakespeare
3 Comments Add yours
This is such an excellent web site. We just bought (nameless) 10567, and just raised the mast this weekend in dry dock. Would you mind if we asked you a couple questions regarding topping lifts and booms? It’s a real head scratcher for us, and we’d appreciate it. Thanks.
Not a problem, Karen, our boats are practically sisters. I’m happy to help all I can, that’s what this blog is all about!
I bought a 1983 Catalina 25 two years ago. She has never been named. I have been struggling with names, but haven’t found the right one yet. Thanks for the story of naming Summer Dance. Using experiences from earlier times to generate meaningful names is a great idea. I really appreciate your blog and have adapted some of your projects on #3407.