When we bought Que Tal, we didn’t realize what a big deal a boat name is. Que Tal sounded okay to us — it’s a greeting in Spanish, and the boat was in Mexico — so we kept it.
Little did we know that we were about to live the “who’s on first?” routine. Every time we’d check in with a harbor master or marina on the radio, we’d have an exchange similar to this:
“Marina, marina, marina, Que Tal.”
“Hola. Who is calling please?”
“Hola. Boat name please.”
“Si, hola. Que tal? Please tell me the name of your boat.”
“Que Tal is the name of my boat.”
“Oh.” (sounding very puzzled) “Okay.”
Other cruisers didn’t quite get it either. Some would hear it on the radio as “Kay Tall” and think my name was Kay and that I was perhaps tall. Others heard it as quetzal, a Central American bird. And many assumed that since we had a Spanish boat name, we spoke Spanish and would greet us with rapid-fire questions and conversation way beyond my “where is the grocery store?” ability.
So this time around, we gave a little more thought to the name. We wanted something that:
- Was easy to say
- Was easy to understand on the radio
- People could pronounce correctly when they saw it
- People would know how to spell
- Not a lot of other boats with the same name (we could only check names of Coast Guard documented boats but that gave us an idea of how popular a name was)
- Reflected the way we see the cruising lifestyle: fun, informal and relaxed
- We liked as our last name (we know that when cruising, you’re known by your first name and boat name; only though Facebook does anyone learn your legal last name)
We weren’t into puns (hard to spell correctly), or cat references (we do have a dog aboard, after all).
And while we thought about mothers’ and sisters’ names, I’d seen what could happen: people assume that the woman on board is who the boat is named after, and start calling you by that name. Much as I love my mom, I don’t want to be called by her name.
As we drove, looking at boats, we made lists of names but none struck us as “right.” Two pages of possible names. We kept listing them and crossing them off.
Heading to the survey on the aborted purchase, we discussed the name further, really wanting to decide on it before the closing (with a documented boat, it’s easiest and cheapest to change a name when you transfer the ownership, but it can be done later). Our list had lots of good names, but we just didn’t feel like we’d found “the” name. Nothing fit — maybe that was a sign right there?
And then, the evening after we made the offer on the boat we did buy, Dave came up with the name that just struck both of us as right. Barefoot Gal.
I could tell you all sorts of reasons for the name, but really, when he said it, we just both knew it. Another sign? So be it: