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choosing a name for your boat is challenging!


  1. courage in pain or adversity.synonyms:courage, bravery, endurance, resilience, mettle, moral fiber, strength of mind, strength of character, strong-mindedness, backbone, spirit, grit, true grit, steadfastness;informal guts

We started thinking about names for the boat immediately after handing over a check for a deposit.  The boat had been very specifically named for the previous owners – a hyphenated combo of their first names that obviously had no relevance to us, so it had to go. That said,  I was nervous about changing the name, always having believed it was bad luck to change the name of a boat.

After  researching the subject of renaming a boat, of which there is a great deal of information on the interwebs, I decided that if we said just the right blessing, and  gave Neptune a little bit of the best champagne we could afford (which wasn’t excellent, we did just buy a boat), we were good to go with a new name.

The problem was figuring out what that name would be. Again, I went to the internet for advice and started a list of options. There were certain “tests” it needed to pass. We didn’t want to have to give a lot of explanation for the name, we didn’t want to need to spell it out and it needed to sound okay 3 times if we ever God-forbid, needed to call Mayday. We tried anagrams of our kids names, anagrams of places that meant something to us, Latin and Irish words that I felt represented our family – the list (and languages) went on and on. Then, we invited our kids and extended family to join in and give us ideas, which was not a good idea. It’s like just asking a bunch of folks to help name your kid. We were completely stuck.

A few weeks after handing over deposit check and after a growing list of name ideas – all of which were a no-go, we headed back down to Olympia for the survey and sea-trial.  This was surprisingly fun and way more informative than I expected.  I think I had just imagined that inspecting engines and stuff would be boring. It was a busy day with lots of folks aboard: my husband, myself, our 22 year old son, the previous owners, our broker, an engine guy and our surveyor.

Over the course of the entire day during which everything was inspected and tested, hauled out and inspected some more – there were two words and a common theme that kept getting mentioned: Strong and Sturdy. “She’s got everything she needs to head to Alaska tomorrow”.

And that was it. We went home and realized we had the wrong idea for naming the boat all along. We didn’t need a name that represented us or the family, we needed a name that represented the boat.

There’s lots of information out there about what you need to do when de-naming and re-naming your boat in order to maintain good boating juju.  Some quite humorous and requiring lots of protocol in appeasing Poseidon. But we culled the lengthy ceremony and took the superstitions down a notch, yet feel we maintained a bit of reverence.  We invited our dearest friends over to the boat, made sure to have plenty of prosecco (and a bottle of the good stuff for Neptune) and read the following blessing which I edited slightly from another one I found online*:

Let this be our quiet place. 

Our small haven of escape and adventure.

Let us find within these walls of wind, water and sky

The joy of family togetherness, as well as individual moments

Of reflection, clarity and inspiration to rejuvenate our souls.

Let us cherish the beauty of the natural world beyond our doorstep,

And let the memories we create and share here, and the peace we find here

Give us hearts’ ease whenever we’re far from home. 

And may the Lord bless us with the protection of fair winds and following seas.

We Christen thee, FORTITUDE. May she stay ever true to her name. 

A toast followed and we went for an inaugural cruise on Lake Union and into Lake Washington. I think her name fits her – so far, (touch wood) she seems to have quite a bit of Fortitude for an ol’ gal.

*feel free to borrow the same for your own use if you’d like!

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