Boat Names

Boat names may not seem like an important thing.  And in the greater scheme of things, it probably isn’t.  But, considering the strong feelings many of us have for our boats; the fact that we put so much work, sweat and money into them; the fact they are a big part of our memories of so many good times, with family, with friends; the most of us feel that selecting the right name for our boat is important. So why do so many people get it wrong?

If like us you are a MOBO  many fellow cruisers will only remember you by your boat name, or your first name and your boat name -” Hey, there’s Roger from Jessica!  Oi, Jessica!”

The name you pick for your boat will reflect to others a little about you – about your intellect (or serious lack of it)  and your worldliness (size of bank balance) or your sense of humour (warped or just infantile)

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

One word works best.  Easy and simple over the radio but can be a bit boring. So keep it snappy and use your imagination. You can still have fun with just one word.
Aquaholic,  Seaduction, Dunworkin

Two is  where the imagination can run riot. And we MOBO’s are a past master of it. It’s because we have a sense of humour.  In most cases a  warped sense of humour, granted
Nauti Buoy, Frayed Knot, Sea-Nile, Knot working, Spent It,  Kids Inheritence,
I could go on ad infinitum

Three or more words  are a no no. Unless of course your rear end is big enough to take all the plastic graphics, you enjoy being the butt of all jokes or you are a complete knob. Seriously there is a boat in Gosport marina named “Dont tell the wife”

MAYDAY ,MAYDAY ,MAYDAY  – Don’t tell the wife,  Don’t tell the wife,  Don’t tell the wife.  I rest my case

If you are a catamaran owner please do everybody a big favour and avoid the use of any of these: Cat, Kat, Two, Dual, Meow, Purr. We get it, it’s a cat, and it has two hulls instead of one. Yes, yes, we know that. Move on. You are not being witty in any way shape or form by pointing this out. This would be like naming your baby girl, Gurl.

Yotties – Please for the love of all things holy, forgo the word WIND. Yes, you are a sailboat and we know the wind propels you. so please be more original than Wind Dreamer, Wind Catcher, Wind Song, Wind Ketcher.
Passing Wind more like it, you are so are full of hot air.

Yotties  also have a love for  Greek mythology, Poseidon, Hermes, Aphrodite and the such like. Or they go for something completely unpronounceable in Hawaiian such as Pilialoha [pee lee ah loh’ ha] or  Hinuhinu  [hee’ noo hee’ noo].
Please don’t. One day you may need assistance and whilst your Hawaiian may be fluent, mine is not. Get a life.

Avoid the use of your real names and naming a boat after your wife or child is so ….well naff. Never ever run your names through an anagram solver. Just in case you are interested, an anagram of our names      (Roger-Susan) is ORGAN USERS – honestly. So very sad.

I have to admit we fall into this last category. Our boat JESSICA is named after our grand daughter. Then someone pointed out that as my husband is called Roger it was OK.  Hence the Roger Rabbit and Jessica logo on our rear end.

Saved by a floozy in a red dress!

Following Ferries

Britain’s oceans do not have signposts. The sea looks the same. It may be grey, brown, muddy or blue, but out of sight of land, there is little to go on. Therefore there is a need of navigation aids such as compasses, charts, satellite navigation, buoys and…… following ferries.

Close to shore, there will usually be visual clues to whereabouts you are on planet Earth. The Solent has  the 160-meter-high Spinnaker Tower in Portsmouth and the Fawley chimney stack at the bottom of Southampton Water. Both are seen from 20 miles on a clear day and act as a point of reference for the navigationally challenged . Better still, they are lit up like Christmas trees at night.

The novice boater may well find that following ferries is the simplest method of navigation. However, it is a form of navigation that has yet to find its way onto the RYA syllabus.

Remember; You actually never follow a ferry; you simply go to the same place.

 Ferry Following

Ferry following can be a reputation saver when all other forms of navigation have failed. Such as attempting to find a narrow creek  that holds a well-known harbour, like Portsmouth.

Navigating by ferry does have some perils. If its foggy make sure you know which  direction the ferry is travelling. It will come as a  bit of a shock to find yourselves in Cherbourg instead of Fishbourne.  The ferries which operate between Gosport and Portsmouth, covering the 500 yards across the entrance of Portsmouth Harbour provide a reliable means of navigation where accurate arrival can be achieved at either one of these destinations.

Portsmouth Harbour offers some hazards worthy of note. They  relate to the rapid flow of incoming and outgoing shipping. There is also the ever present risk of being raked by machine gun fire if you stray too close  to the Navy Depot.

For those undertaking one of the RYA qualifications, such as Competent Crew or Day Skipper, there will be much mention of charts, dividers and plotters. Additional confusions such as Latitude and Longitude often rear their ugly heads. They are there for one reason only: the implements of navigation look good on a chart table, and multi-digital gobbledygook sounds good on the radio. However no mention of ferry timetables so to help you navigate to your next destination….

Ferries from

  • Southampton go to Cowes and Hythe.
  • Lymington go to Yarmouth,
  • Portsmouth go to Gosport, Fishbourne, Cherbourg, Caen, St Malo, Le Havre, Jersey, Guernsey, Santander and Bilbao.

It is suggested that you do not follow the Hover to Ryde, it can get a bit windy! If you are feeling very adventurous there is always Cruise ship following but that is whole different ball game.

Other Forms of Navigation

In order to aid departures and arrivals, a system of physical objects with unusual shapes has been devised to guide the seafarer. Consequently, the seas are cluttered with different coloured cans, cones, poles, posts and objects. Some of which defy any form of description.

Most are there for navigational purposes and to let the seafarer know which side of the sea he should be driving. Others are there for reasons that yet to be determined. Many are green, red, yellow, black, green with red stripes, red with green stripes, yellow and black, black and yellow. Some have horizontal stripes and some vertical. Then there are the ones that look like mutant trees growing out of the sea bed.

The Beaulieu River boast all manners of red and green trees growing from the river bed. In addition to all this sea debris, lights are  placed along the coast line to aid incoming and outgoing sailors to line up and avoid banging into anything.

Closer in to land, when approaching ports and marinas, green markers on the right and red on the left tell the Skipper where his or her boat needs to be. Quite often the greens and reds are so spread out that nothing short of the Hubble Telescope will do in locating the correct  path.

It is easy to remember. If the green  and red lights are on the same side as your boat navigation lights , you are travelling towards a safe mooring. Reversed and they are mismatched, you are travelling out to sea.

If they are multi-coloured, flashing  and there is loud music… you are following a ferry.

Boating Music.

Warm summers day, waves lapping on the hull, music playing in the background. Bliss.

Music plays a big part of my life. I use to play piano, the radio is on all day in the background and my iTunes contains over 3000 of my favourite tracks. I grew up in the 60’s and 70’s., just as popular music really took off. As a teenager I was a full card carrying member of the heavy rock head banging scene. Deep Purple, Pink Floyd and Meatloaf all featured highly. I then really went downhill and embraced Punk.

I have mellowed  some what since then, you will be glad to hear. Not sure that Black Sabbath or Guns N’ Roses quite tick the box these days
So what I wanted was some truly great songs to boat by. Obviously the theme music to Titanic was asking for trouble, Handel’s Water Music was a little too baroque for my taste,  and Captain Pugwash  – well its my phones ring tone, so that was out. I discounted Gilbert & Sullivan’s HMS Pinafore as too naff and Michael Rowed the Boat Ashore…..well let’s move on.

I decided to enlist a DJ friend (Tim King) of mine to help. He came up with a huge amount of suggestions and below you will find the definitive playlist I have on my iPod.

Susies Boaty Music Playlist

  • Beyond the Sea – Bobby Darin
  • Calypso – Roger Whittaker
  • Come Sail Away – Styx
  • Crusin’ – Smokey Robinson
  • Ferry Cross the Mersey – Gerry & The Pacemakers
  • Harbour Lights – The Platters
  • Hooray Its a holi-holiday – Boney M
  • If I had a Boat – Lyle Lovett
  • In the Navy – Village People
  • Island in the Sun – Harry Belafonte
  • Long Boats – Cat Stevens
  • Messin’ About on the River – Anita Harris
  • Night Boat to Cairo – Madness
  • On the Dock of the Bay – Otis Reading
  • Red Sails in the Sunset – Fats Domino
  • Rock the Boat- Hues Corporation
  • Sail On – The Commodores.
  • Sea Cruise – Frankie Ford
  • Sailing – Christopher Cross
  • Ship to Shore – Chris De Burgh
  • Sailing – Rod Stewart
  • Sink the Bismark – Johnny Horton
  • Sailing Away – Chris De Burgh
  • Sailing Home – Piet Weerman
  • Ships – Barry Manilow
  • Six months in a leaky boat – Split Enz
  • Sloop John B – Beach Boys
  • Summer Breeze – Isley Brothers
  • The Last Farewell – Roger Whittaker
  • The Tide Is High – Blondie
  • When the ship comes in  – Bob Dylan
  • Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald – Gordon Lightfoot

I am betting that no one of you will have heard of the song listed in red however it’s my favourite so I have uploaded it so you can listen to it.

Before you go into a mad copy and pasting frenzy, don’t worry, there is a downloadable printable  list here Boat Songs

I am sure there are plenty more so please let me know your favourites so I can add them to my playlist.