What's In A Name?

by Marty Parisien, EYC Member

Have you ever wondered how people come up with the name of their vessel? I mentioned to my kids that maybe we should give our Laser a name. I was called clever epithets such as “Noob” and “Embarrassing”.  “You don’t name a Laser. Everyone will think you are a dork,” said my son. “No," my daughter countered, "Everyone will finally know that you are a dork.”

Next time you are on EYC grounds in the middle of summer, pay attention to some of the names that have been given to boats. Some names sound cool like Falcor and Raven. Others evoke images of peaceful days at sea such as the Brust armada that includes Wind Rush and Soul Pleasure. I particularly enjoy the ones that are predictive of the skippers sailing prowess (or lack thereof) with names like This Side Up or Guano Happens! A few are oddly descriptive of the skipper: Bi-Polar, Loose Nuts, and Dat Ass come to mind.

But then there is one name that really got me thinking: Dutch Luck. Now, no need to be oblique here. Just about everyone knows that certain gentleman from the Netherlands who owns this Thistle. What exactly is “Dutch Luck”? I've heard of Dutch Courage, and I know what Dutch Treat is, and I have heard about the Luck o’ the Irish, but where did the moniker Dutch Luck come from?

I have crewed for Evert quite a few times and I have asked him what it means but have never really been given an answer. I thought about times when luck of any kind, Dutch or otherwise, may have come into play when we were racing.

When he and I traveled to Yale Lake in Washington for a race, I am told that we had a good time. I don’t really remember much after the first start, but the baseball-sized lump on my head just above my port-side ear may provide a clue. I certainly no longer question why it is called a Boom, but I wouldn’t categorize this as lucky. Mr. Slijper maintains that I had a great time. 

I filled in for Evert's wife Judy as mid-crew on Wednesday during Thistle Nationals this past summer. I ended the day with a broken rib. I do remember that and I don’t want to talk about it anymore. Let’s just say that I did not feel very lucky after that day either.

More recently Evert and I paired up to be the only EYC entrants for Mid-Winters West in Mission Bay. There were of course the expected injuries such as bloody shins and scraped elbows. But the worst of the damage I discovered a few days after I returned to my home. On my starboard hip was a bruise about the size and shape of a football. The fact that I did not even know it was there can mean only a couple of things:  1) I have become incredibly pain-tolerant while sailing on Dutch Luck and/or 2) I clearly do not spend enough time checking out my “cheeks” in the mirror or I would have seen the bruise much sooner.

I still would not classify any of these as “lucky” for me. However, the boat's name may not have anything to do with me at all but might instead have everything to do with the skipper. While considering the names people have given their boats and the meanings behind them I thought, not only is Evert lucky that he never gets hurt, he is also lucky that we finish well despite his crew’s injuries. He is lucky that he can still find crew after they have seen my blood stains on the center thwart, and he is lucky that I never seem to discover my injuries until after we hoist the Thistle back onto the trailer.

Then it hit me: I have been lucky. Thanks to my time on Dutch Luck and my time spent with Evert, I am lucky to have made a very good friend. We have a blast together out there. Thank you, Evert, for inviting me along on these adventures. I now understand the meaning of the name Dutch Luck.... Sort of.

By the way, I am still considering being a total dork and naming my Laser. I want to name it, Single Sailed Organism. What do you think?