By Sam Harriss / Correspondent
March 5, 2021
I have this candlelit image of a man sitting in his boat shack, juniper walls aged with salt spray, buoys and netting hang from the rafters. He sits stoic, pen in hand, dreaming of the perfect woman — the woman for whom he will name his boat.
It’s a hell of a decision, weightier even than the naming of a first child. It is Hamlet holding Yorick’s skull and contemplating death, it is Alice sitting on a toadstool deciding the right potion, it is your life and the lives of others to come after, a rite of passage for every captain and a task to not be taken lightly, for to wish a name change is to wish the unfathomable — to sleep with the fishes.
A boat’s name must withstand time and live up to the gilded letters painted with careful precision on teak, like the tile mosaics of the Vatican. It should be something you’re willing to sink or swim with when noted in your eulogy.
I’ve had a boat named after me and in turn have named a boat. I’ve even requested removals from Poseidon’s scroll that holds the name of every boat that ever sailed the seven salty seas. And let me share some wise words of wrathful waves to the wharf men of our world: you hope never to have to go to Poseidon’s lair and kindly ask for an edit to the Ledger of the Deep.
So, burn the Fishin’ Fools keychains, koozies and tchotchkes, and erase the name on land. Light candles and hold a no-wake-zone vigil to appease Triton. And for everyone’s sake, try to pick a decent name, a name we can all toast to; because the last thing you want is your headstone to read: Capt. Dan passed during a fatal Bow Movement adventure at sea.
A Sailors Sage Advice
4 ounces fresh grapefruit juice
2 ounces vodka or gin
½ ounce sage syrup*
2 ounces soda water
Fresh sage leaf for garnish
Add grapefruit, syrup and liquor to a shaker with ice. Shake then strain into a tumbler over fresh ice. Top with soda water and the sage leaf.
*For sage syrup: Add 1-to-1 sugar water and a bunch of torn sage leaves to a saucepan. Dissolve the sugar over medium heat and then let steep for an hour. Strain.
Sam Harriss is the owner/founder of Camp Cocktail, a mobile bartending business on the Outer Banks. When she’s not slinging drinks from the window of her remodeled 1969 Shasta camper trailer, you might find her nose-deep in a good book, a sleeping dog by her side.