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Loka: What’s in a Boat Name?

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What’s in a Boat Name?

We have officially changed the boat name! What an exciting day. Technically, the rename was official when we filed all the paperwork with the US Coast Guard, but it didn’t feel real because she bore the old name on her hull. Until yesterday!


Isn’t it bad luck to rename a boat?

Well, we have a few things to say about that. First, we aren’t superstitious. While it’s tempting to project all the ways things can go wrong and how external forces might work against us, we tend to be practical in our thinking. Second, renaming a boat is only bad luck if you don’t follow certain rituals to relinquish the old name and celebrate the new name. Because we’re having fun with this whole endeavor, we will perform a simple ceremony to thank Isabel, return the name to the universe, and welcome Loka as the newest yacht name on the ocean.

white row boats in a light blue water harbor under a blue sky with white fluffy clouds.
Marsaxlokk, Malta, December 2019

How to Rename a Boat

Note: really, it’s just me, Pinky, pushing on the ritualizing – Charlie could skip this altogether and not be bothered. Also, many of these ideas came from so check them out!

  1. Relinquish the old name 
    • Thank the gods and Isabel for all the travels.
    • Throw a piece of paper (using water-soluble ink), with the old name written on it, into the water
    • Ask the gods to erase all instances of our Isabel from their records and toast to their greatness
  2. Celebrate the new name with a toast to the gods of the sea
    • Announce to the gods of the sea the new name
    • Ask that they grant her safety and well-being and toast to their greatness
  3. Ask for fair winds and toast to the gods of the wind
    • Announce to the gods of the wind the new name
    • Ask for fair winds from each direction and toast in each direction

Another note is the beverage does not have to be alcohol. Pinky doesn’t drink and will be toasting with sparkling water. The ritual itself is more important than the specifics.


Gods? Are You Serious?

Sure, there are a lot of references to mythical gods that we don’t honestly believe in. However, we are expanding our intentions into a new direction, and this ceremony marks this milestone as the start of the next phase of enlightenment.

Pinky & Charlie at Hooper Strait Lighthouse in Saint Michaels, MD

Why Loka, anyway?

Besides the meaning, we had criteria for our boat name:

  • Short, ideally 4 letters, so it would be simple to spell when necessary
  • Easy to understand over VHF
  • Symbolic of our journey from land to sea and beyond

We had lots of names that we considered. Here are a few:

  • Sidewinder
  • Zazu
  • Pale Blue Dot
  • ne’er-do-well
  • Diversity
  • Trade off
  • Anti-pattern 
  • Nimue
  • Sailmonella
  • Starlorn
  • Forte

Ultimately, we poured through lists of Sanskrit words because they tend to be short and have significant meanings. That’s how we found Loka (as well as several other options).

As we shared on the home page, loka means world or planet in Sanskrit. Indian philosophies and religions expand the physical concept of “world” into the metaphysical realm, expanding into mental states and divine planes of existence. The metaphysical expansion screamed at us because it jives with the idea that we are traveling the world (Earth) in our world (boat) and working on ascending into the next philosophical world (loka), our next divine plane of existence. 

Hopefully, now you can see why a renaming ceremony might be a beneficial thing for us. It’s way less about superstition and more about the beautiful marking of this next phase of our life.

Random Fun Fact: Pinky designed the boat name/logo using Procreate & Illustrator. 



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