What’s in a name?

Changing the name of a boat is traditionally seen as unlucky – maybe it is – the boat currently known as Joss is on her third name and has not been blessed by fortune.

When launched she was called Tahi – if you are into the meaning of names this is initially promising.  In Maori it means (depending on the part of speech)  “One” or “In Unison”, or “To sweep”.  Similarly in Rapa Nui it means “One” or “Other one”.  In Kanamari  it means “Water” though there are only 650 Kanamari speakers and they are all in the Amazon so it’s unlikely anyone is going to walk up and say “Your boat is called Water”.  Meanings take a turn for the worse when we go to Indonesian laqnuages – in  Malay it means “droppings, dung,muck, flith, dregs” and it seems much more possible that someone will walk up and say with a snigger “Do you know what your boat is called in Malay?”.  Reverting to “Tahi” is suddenly less appealing.

When she first changed hands she was renamed “Summer Wind”.  It conjures up images of a pale coloured, delicate little yacht drifting quietly up river on the afternoon breeze while the sun reflects ripples of light onto her hull.  Fifteen tonnes of steel, two masts and a novice skipper don’t belong in this picture.  “Summer Wind” is out then, though here lies a difficultly – on her stern she still bears the name “Summer Wind” and its also on her MMSI registration, so from one perspective e that must be what she is called.  Except …

When we bought her she was referred to as Joss and we are now in the habit of calling her Joss.  It’s not necessarily a name I would have chosen, but it has a robust simplicity that I could live with.  It seems not everyone is convinced.  Perhaps the meaning doesn’t help “one of the Goths”;  black leather dodgers and black superstructure over a white deck anyone?

So now my task over Christmas is “to find a NEW NAME” and hence have a fresh start.  If it’s unlucky to rename a boat how does four names in 20 years stack up? Very unlucky or just inured to change? If her everyday name doesn’t match what it says on the stern does she really have a name that it would be unlucky to change anyway?

Faced with such dilemmas my plan is simple – do nothing for now – if there is a new name she should have it will somehow be made known and if not she will be called Joss – unlucky or not I can’t cope with “Summer Wind”.