Friday, April 2, 2010

Name of the Boat

We changed the name of Winter Solstice. She began her life as Tiffin II which seemed like a name for a canoe or other lightweight craft. After that she became Burma Star, which was what she was called when we bought her. This name didn't suit. I’m not sure I can explain why – it seemed like a name for a bigger boat, a rougher-built vessel, not a pretty timber craft with sweet lines like our new beloved. Here she is in the photo above when we first saw her in Poole Harbour. She'd had a recent undercoat of white paint on the coach house sides. We planned to take her back to the wood.

Burma Star arrived in Ireland on the back of a lorry. I was anxious. Timber boats are vulnerable if not carried properly – planks can spring out of place if too much pressure is put on them and I had visions of high seas with lorry and boat piled up in a corner of the ferry, crushed. We had booked her passage with a man from Banagher in County Offaly. He came highly recommended and appeared to know what he was doing, but you can never be sure. There was also her dignity to consider – how would she feel, exhibiting her nether regions as she travelled across two countries?

As we drove to Eamonn Egan’s boatyard where she was to be put into the Shannon, we still hadn't picked a name. Much anguish comes with the process of choosing a new name as you are going to have to live with it for the duration of your ownership. What’s more it will be in the public domain. A favourite pastime for people sitting in a harbour is to watch and comment on other boats. A ridiculous name will cause derision. We had already been through this with our previous boat Towed in a Hole and had no wish to repeat the experience.
‘It’s a good day to be putting her into the Shannon,’ I said. ‘The Winter Solstice.’
‘We could call her that,’ said Joe.

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