The boat was originally named “Sea Fever” which made me cringe when I first heard it. Definitely not my style and the previous owners must’ve agreed because they had removed the lettering on the hull before I even saw the boat. Keeping “Sea Fever” was clearly not an option, so I got to work brainstorming a new name.
First and foremost – I wanted to name the boat something that reminded me not to take this whole venture too seriously. I’m entering a world of yaaacht clubs and ascots, and sharing water with massive motor yachts and 60 ft luxury cruising ketches. That’s (obviously) not me.
I’m sure that within that group, there are wonderful people, but it seems that they also think too highly of themselves at times. A name like Rascal ought to keep me grounded. I’m just a twenty-something dude going for a sail, after all.
I also wanted a name that was easily cursable. I’ve no doubt that things on this boat will go wrong over time, and if I named the boat after a deceased relative or a high school sweetheart, it’d be hard to holler at her when a halyard broke, or the engine died. Saying, “you damned dirty Rascal!” comes more naturally and I’m sure she’ll give it back to me from time to time.
I’m told that folks within the voyaging community quickly become known by their boat names rather than their given names and being referred to as “the Rascal” for the next few years sounds great to me. Comical and accurate.
The renaming of a sailboat is pretty serious business. Nearly everyone agrees that renaming a yacht brings bad luck upon it from that point forward, unless the proper precautions are taken. While I do seem to have quite a surplus of luck, I didn’t want to tempt the gods, so I decided to conduct a traditional re-christening of the boat before my departure from Bellingham, lest Poseidon strike me down in the Pacific.
Some good friends from around town and a handful of boat neighbors attended and we all got pretty good and sauced up for the occasion. To begin with, one must make an invocation to the gods and express gratitude that they’ve let the boat continue to “ply the seas” up until this time. Following that, you must ask for permission to de-name the boat and ensure that all parties have stricken the old name from their memories. Next, you go about the process of renaming the boat, and finally, you must ask the gods for their blessing upon the new name. Throughout this process, there is a lot of pouring libations across the bow and into the sea. None but the finest wine should be used, and I took the liberty of using a bota bag to disperse much of it into wind. I have no doubt that the gods were pleased and I trust that I’ll have fair winds through much of my journey.
I’ve done a lot of moving around in the past few years and I had a tough time pinning down the best city to hail from. Most of the places I’ve lived (besides China, haha!) have been pretty landlocked. I was born in Salida, Colorado and though I didn’t spend much time there, I’ve always thought it was a charming little town. Salida means “exit” in Spanish and thus it will be easy for folks to pronounce in the countries I’m planning to traverse in the next few years. Comically enough, the only water in Salida is the Arkansas river, so I guess folks will just figure that I sailed right down it and through the Mississippi.