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Help me name my new boat.
January 13, 2014 2:57 PM   Subscribe

Continuing the long tradition of getting AskMe to help name things, I have a boat that needs naming.

The boat is a J/70, which is a small racing sailboat. This is the third boat of this general type (small, racy) that I'll have owned, but the first one I plan to actually try and race seriously.

Boats often get named all sorts of ridiculous things. Puns are popular, though I don't much care for them. In the class that I'll be racing in, my club has boats named: "Piñata", "Wildthing", "Magic", "Hanalei", "Dynaflow", "Sumo", "Don Quixote", "Duet", "Absolute 5", "Gotcha", "Variety Show", "Katzenjammer", "Summer Breeze", "Mistress Quickly", and "Enigma", just as a list of examples (obviously I'm not going to name it the same thing as any of the other boats in my club).

Uniqueness is a plus. If you feel like looking up a boat name, the USCG keeps a list of registered vessels, which doesn't include all boats in the US, just ones registered with the Coast Guard instead of individual states, but is good way to gauge relative popularity (i.e., it shows 202 "Zephyrs" and only 39 "Chardonnays").

Anything that hints at small and fast is good, but that's not required. It needs to be short enough that I can paint it on the side on a J/70.
posted by tylerkaraszewski to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (62 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Sonic, as in the hedgehog?
posted by vrakatar at 3:04 PM on January 13 [2 favorites]

posted by Big_B at 3:09 PM on January 13 [1 favorite]

Small and fast made me think of asteroids and meteors. I guess asteroids are probably quite large, but they're smaller than planets and look small in the night sky. Lots of asteroids have names, and there are also some named meteor showers.

Some thoughts:


Fortuna (great if you're racing to win, too!)
Nemesis (another fun one for competitiveness)

Also, maybe small and not particularly fast, but what the hell: Khaleesi
posted by Sara C. at 3:09 PM on January 13 [2 favorites]

Peregrine, after the fastest flying bird. They're also pretty ferocious, which makes a nice name for a competitive sport!
posted by chatongriffes at 3:10 PM on January 13 [3 favorites]

Sbrigati (Italian for "hurry up!")
posted by The World Famous at 3:11 PM on January 13 [1 favorite]

posted by crw at 3:11 PM on January 13

I was hoping that the sailfish had a cool Latin name, but it doesn't (to my ear). They're not very small (well, less than 10 feet) but they are very fast. But this page contains a bunch of common names for it, in English and other languages.
posted by rtha at 3:20 PM on January 13

Penguin, because everybody loves penguins!
posted by lstanley at 3:21 PM on January 13

Kite Racer
posted by valoius at 3:21 PM on January 13

You could mine Patrick O'Brian:

posted by jquinby at 3:25 PM on January 13 [1 favorite]

Æsahættr, the "Subtle Knife" from Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials
posted by xueexueg at 3:26 PM on January 13 [1 favorite]

The Hawkmoth!

0 hits on USCG.
posted by prize bull octorok at 3:26 PM on January 13 [1 favorite]

sailbad the sinner!
posted by bruce at 3:27 PM on January 13 [3 favorites]

Thunder Child (After the torpedo ram from HG Wells' War of the Worlds)
posted by Comrade_robot at 3:30 PM on January 13

Meep Meep
posted by ckape at 3:33 PM on January 13 [14 favorites]

Glim Dropper
posted by InkaLomax at 3:34 PM on January 13

posted by HotToddy at 3:35 PM on January 13 [1 favorite]

On a Jet
L'Autre Dame (the other woman)
This Side Up
posted by JujuB at 3:41 PM on January 13 [1 favorite]

Nuisance Value
Killing Time
Nervous Energy
(all from here which is a rich source of Ship names)
posted by EndsOfInvention at 3:42 PM on January 13

Sea Biscuit!
posted by Bohemian Sailor at 3:46 PM on January 13 [3 favorites]

Just for the appearance of the bowsprit on the J/70, I'd suggest Narwhal, Cyrano, or Dart (or even Lawn Dart, if she's ever been aground).

Remember that the committee boat is going to have to see your name and record it when you come out to the mark, and if the name is easy to see and spell you're going to be subconsciously favored when they're watching two boats cross the line.
posted by Kakkerlak at 3:48 PM on January 13 [2 favorites]

posted by mochapickle at 3:51 PM on January 13 [1 favorite]

Like Kakkerlak, I was going to suggest "Dart". How about "Flechette" or "Shuriken" (both with zero hits on the USCG registry)?
posted by mhum at 3:51 PM on January 13

"This side up" is excellent.

I like ships with short names if they're fast. "Dart", "Skip", "Scud", or "Nimble"?

"Tobiuo" is the anglicisation of the Japanese for flying fish.
posted by cromagnon at 3:52 PM on January 13

posted by Etrigan at 3:52 PM on January 13

Oh, and "spindrift" is the best marine word out there, but I don't know if it's British English only.
posted by cromagnon at 3:53 PM on January 13

Fleet of One
Race the Wind
Yar and Far
Far and Away
Fast Times
posted by thinkpiece at 3:53 PM on January 13

posted by gaspode at 3:54 PM on January 13

rule #1 in naming a boat, if you ever get in trouble on the water and have to call the coast guard, you want to be able to tell the coast guard the name of your boat without embarrassment.

several years back i saw on an article about a boat "qui es tu papa" that had to call the coast guard. names that could be construed as boastful or hubristic are out.
posted by bruce at 3:57 PM on January 13 [3 favorites]

And if you're in CA, then local marine fish could give you:

"Surfperch" which has a nice dual meaning for a little boat

"Alalunga" which is the Latin species name of the albacore tuna but also sounds like "in the long run" in Italian

"Chilipepper" which is obvious but nice

"Grunion" which probably won't do but is a great word.
posted by cromagnon at 4:02 PM on January 13 [1 favorite]

It's a seabird and the word sounds like something a fast sailboat would do.
posted by islander at 4:17 PM on January 13 [1 favorite]

Heh, as someone that used to crew on a J/30 (named Preparation J) I would name it Bladder Control.

More seriously...

Ok, reading the specs I see your boat has an asymmetrical kite and can point pretty high and plane. I would name it Chaos and use this as a symbol. Hell, I would be tempted to use only the symbol.

Lack of a head aside (I like a beer on the downwind legs even though I'm trimming the kite) your new boat looks like a blast to sail. I'm jealous.
posted by vapidave at 4:21 PM on January 13

Please name it after me.

My grandfather was a boat builder/fisherman/fish wholesaler. He built a boat and named it after his mother. He also built a boat and named it after his daughter (my mother.) My father has built two boats, one named after my grandmother (my mom's mom) and one named after my daughter (who is named after my dad's mom.)

I am the only woman in my family who does not have a boat named after me.

So, why not name it after me?
posted by vespabelle at 4:23 PM on January 13 [10 favorites]

posted by mannequito at 4:36 PM on January 13

In homage to Iain M Banks - "Ultimate Ship the Second"
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 4:37 PM on January 13 [1 favorite]

posted by rhizome at 4:44 PM on January 13 [1 favorite]

In Miami a popular name for boats is C.O.Jones.

Get it? Cojones.

/drops mike
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 4:50 PM on January 13 [1 favorite]

That's a great boat, you're gonna have a ball with that asymetric chute.

My advice would be- don't think too hard, keep it simple- it's only a name. Name it after your ma, but a little floozier (e.g. Margaret Dare > Maggie D).

One time down in Charleston I saw a guy who'd named his boat Liquor Box and had the Rolling Stones tongue logo beside it on the transom. Classy.

On preview: come on, name it after vespabelle!
posted by stinkfoot at 5:00 PM on January 13

Ever since I read Foundation about a million years ago, I always told myself that if I got a boat, I'd name it Far Star.
posted by Sphinx at 5:01 PM on January 13

Business Cat
posted by Kafkaesque at 5:07 PM on January 13

In homage to Iain M Banks - "Ultimate Ship the Second"

A list of Iain M. Banks spacecraft names. Have fun.
posted by ovvl at 5:14 PM on January 13 [3 favorites]

I too Second Ian Banks Space Craft names from The Culture. There are loads of great ones.
posted by QueerAngel28 at 5:20 PM on January 13 [1 favorite]

I've thought "Somnambulist" would be a cool name for a boat. It might be more appropriate for a cruiser, though.
posted by indyz at 5:24 PM on January 13 [1 favorite]

Before I owned it, my boat used to be named Fuchsia Schock, which was a sort of elaborate pun on the color of the bottom paint (fuchsia), boat manufacturer's name (the W.D. Schock Co.), and the title of Toffler's book (Future Shock). I briefly was going to keep the name, but it was really a drag to have to explain all that to everyone who asked - and they did. So I renamed it Guillemot, which might sound equally obtuse, but it's just the name of a common seabird - and all good boats should be named after sea birds. It was either that or Phalarope.

Anyway, name it after a seabird, since all sailboats have one wing in the air and one wing in the water.

And let me know if you need crew, I'd love a ride on one of those.
posted by gyusan at 5:35 PM on January 13 [1 favorite]

Are you open to ironic names? That is,

Pitch Drop

Nuisance Value
Killing Time
Nervous Energy

You forgot Superlifter Kiss My Ass!
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 5:45 PM on January 13

Cracker Jack
posted by nnk at 5:56 PM on January 13

posted by Snarl Furillo at 6:20 PM on January 13

For a J/70, I like:



marine mammals:

or some names from Greek mythology:

My favorite is Alecto, or "Unceasing"
posted by the man of twists and turns at 6:32 PM on January 13

Tiny PP
Money Pit
posted by Rob Rockets at 6:32 PM on January 13

Small, but do the wings make her fast?
posted by Houstonian at 6:49 PM on January 13

Mark 5 from Speed Racer!
posted by lester at 7:06 PM on January 13

Um, Speed Racer drove the powerful Mach Five. Racer X, ultimately revealed to be his brother, drove the Shooting Star. I do not know whether his girl friend, Trixie, named her helicopter.

Moriah (as in, they call the wind Moriah).
posted by carmicha at 7:59 PM on January 13

If I had a sailboat, I'd call it 'Breaking Wind'. If I was worried about being embarrassed in a more professional racing setting, I'd probably call it the Wind Breaker and giggle to myself whenever I thought about it.
posted by SquidLips at 8:56 PM on January 13 [1 favorite]

I like Andale.
posted by tatiana131 at 9:05 PM on January 13

If I had a sailboat, I'd call it 'Breaking Wind'.

Unfortunately, 9 of the 17 boats in the registry that are named "Breaking..." are named "Breaking Wind."
posted by rhizome at 10:33 PM on January 13

(1st, very jealous: I crew on a J/80 and it is a fantastic boat, I imagine/have heard that the J/70 is more of the same (same rating). The asymmetrical (hell the whole boat) is easy to sail - what does require a little more attention is the how exact trim needs to be to squeeze the last few bits of speed. Good Luck!)

The problem with naming your boat after something fast (Blitz, Blink, Whip, Meep Meep (personal favorite from this thread) Andale) is that if you are not fast, you look a bit like a dope.

Personally I think you should name your boat after a woman you have had some kind of long, deep, protracted personal involvement with. Not necessarily a woman who cost you a lot of money, but that's not unheard of. Using her nickname is a good, tried and true strategy.

Lastly, because it is a racing/day sailor and of course you are sailing to win, something you can say in one syllable sounds good at the awards ceremony.
posted by From Bklyn at 4:08 AM on January 14 [1 favorite]

I like Water Dancer, but if Arya Stark is not your favourite trainee assassin this may not be very relevant to you. And also, 'stick 'em with the pointy end' is probably not a good racing strategy....
posted by Lebannen at 4:54 AM on January 14

Boba Float
posted by ducktape at 8:31 AM on January 14

posted by M.C. Lo-Carb! at 8:44 AM on January 14 [2 favorites]

My Boat
posted by The World Famous at 8:48 AM on January 14

I decided on a name!

It's not actually any of the names in this thread, though I marked some of my favorites as best answers, and reading through this thread and following the various trains of thought that some of these names inspired helped me think of the name. The boat will be called "Spitfire".
posted by tylerkaraszewski at 10:31 AM on January 14 [6 favorites]

are you naming or renaming the boat?
either way, I suggest a ceremony or ritual.
Ceremony for Renaming Your Boat
Boat Renaming
Renaming a Boat? Beware!
posted by the man of twists and turns at 10:43 AM on January 14

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