Every boat needs a great name. While it is traditionally considered bad luck to change the name of a boat, the name my boat came with was…not good. Let’s just leave it at that. To really make the boat mine, I had to change her name to something meaningful and dignified. She’s not only my home, she’s a major source of pride, inspiration, and a vessel of adventure.
Some boats have cutsy-pootsy names like C-Worthy or Sue Sea Q, while others are much cooler, from Earendil to my all time favorite Occam’s Razor (who has a great crew–met them as Riley and I were cruising the docks). The boat’s name had to reflect me, but also embody something–well–cool. I toyed with the idea of naming her after a virtue, like Constance, or Persistence, but the more I thought about that, the lamer it sounded. Since living on a boat was such a new idea, the name Impulsive might have been okay, but when I floated the idea past friends, none of them liked it. While I don’t think anyone should rely on the opinions of others, for something fun like this, I wanted valuable input.
Naming a boat is like branding a company. I had to think about what the boat meant to me, what I wanted from her, what she needed from me, and then name her. She’s my home, she’ll take me places, she’ll protect me. She’s adventurous and daring… She’s also all mine…
I thought of Seth, a character in my novel Jaden Baker, who I created to be a protector. But boats are referred to as “she” and Seth is not a girl. So I decided on a different character.
Elizabeth “Libby” James is adventurous and daring, witty and clever, confidently cool, and deeply loved. She embodies everything I value–Libby is exactly the kind of woman I long to be.
And so, after removing all traces of the old name from the boat, I followed Vigor’s denaming ceremony to un-name her, then brought her into the docks for her christening. Friends and family came to see her named. Below is a word-for-word account of what was said at her bow:
We come here today, August 17th, 2011 to christen this sailing vessel Libby, named after Elizabeth James, the instigator of all things brave, a fighter of evil, defender of good, confident but never cocky, a true hero with an immense heart. I ask Neptune, god of the sea, and Aeolus, god of the wind, as well as the almighty God our Father in Heaven, to protect this vessel, to keep her and her captain, Courtney Kirchoff, and crew safe, to return safely to port, and to always sail right and true.
And so we raise our glasses: To the sailors of old, and to the captains of today, I herby christen this sailing vessel Libby. *
Then I popped the cork, shook up the bottle, and sprayed her with champagne.
The S/V Libby
Libby needs a new paint job, both top and bottom, but she’ll have her name affixed to her transom soon. Once she’s been newly painted (the transom was recently painted and doesn’t need it again), she’ll get some fantastic new artwork in the form of vector graphics to her hull. I’m thinking she’ll need the Libby smirk 😉
I’ve yet to take her out for a solo sail as Libby but I did have her out a few times prior to her christening. She sails great and fast, which is important: both Libby and I share a competitive streak. I’ve decided to give her her own page on this website, so anyone interested in reading about my sailing adventures can just go to the SV/ Libby section. Of course, if you don’t have a clue as to who Libby is and why I think she’s so cool, you should really buy my novel. It’s $4.25 as an ebook right now, which is less than a Venti anything at Starbucks, and will last a heck of a lot longer. The fastest reading record so far is 2-3 days. I doubt the white chocolate mocha can last that long…
*Why isn’t there video or photos of the event? Video was taken, but it was so windy, it’s hard to hear what’s being said. Photos were taken with phones and have yet to be sent to me. I couldn’t wait to post about Libby, though!