Our on-the-water season begins in early April when we launch the boat that we will sail in 2023 and start to ready her for sailing. Our first race scheduled is on June 2nd when we race solo 635nm from Newport to Bermuda, followed by a double-handed return race. This year my friend and sailor Jim Rudser will serve as my co-skipper on the return (Jim sailed with me from the Azores to Portugal in 2022).
To best accomplish our 2023 goals, I decided it was time for a major change. This year, we will be racing with a new (to us) boat. Sail For Epilepsy will be sailing on Fearless, formerly named Alchemist, a Jeanneau Sunfast 3300, designed for offshore racing. Our previous offshore racing boat was designed in the early 2000s and I wanted to try a newer vessel benefiting from two decades of naval architecture refinements. I also wanted a new challenge as I continuously seek to become a better offshore sailor.
A major obvious difference is that Fearless has twin rudders while Cepheus had a single rudder. The twin rudders are a significant improvement for when the boat is heeled over at an angle since one of the rudders always stays in the water. This allows for excellent steerage and better control of the boat. Additionally, she has a voluminous rounded bow which, together with other features, will help her “plane” sooner and achieve high speeds when sailing downwind.
Prior to splashing the boat we will make a few minor modifications which include the addition of a solar panel to recharge the Lithium batteries, the installation of satellite communications systems so that we can report back to shore and interact with Virtual Shipmates, and some safety features needed for offshore sailing.
Why the name Fearless?
It took quite a while to choose the right name. We had discussions about several names and what each represented. In addition to a meaning, the name has to be simple to use over the VHF radio if hailing another vessel or port. When we radioed using one of our previous boat names “Prairie Gold” (I won’t explain the rationale but rest assured there was reasoning) the harbormaster would respond “Hello Prairie Dog, come in to slip …..”.
We chose Fearless to signal to others the importance of pushing through challenges to overcome adversity. This is part of our message to those with epilepsy who participate in the One More Step Challenge. Of course, one shouldn’t be fearless with reckless abandon, but instead face challenges with courage, determination and – importantly – safety measures in place. My One More Step Challenge is to sail the oceans of the world, but do so safely. I believe Fearless offers some safety and design improvements that enhance my ability to pursue this goal.
Sailors can be a superstitious lot. Bananas on board are not allowed, albatross carry the souls of dead sailors, whistling will cause an increase in wind – and changing the name of a boat is bad luck. I normally don’t subscribe to superstitions but just in case, we will have an official ceremony to prevent those superstitions from coming true.
Remove all traces of the current name
Start by taking any and every item bearing the boat’s name off the boat. Do not, under any circumstances, take even one item with the new name onboard yet!
Begin the purging ceremony
The official ceremony, in which you address Poseidon himself, calls for good champagne, and good friends as witnesses. Once you’re gathered together on the bow of the boat, recite the following: ”I implore you in your graciousness to expunge for all time from your records and recollection the name (mention the old boat name), which has ceased to be an entity in your kingdom. Pour at least half the champagne into the water, from east to west. Share the rest among yourselves.
Begin the renaming ceremony
Speak to Poseidon once again: Oh mighty and great ruler of the seas and oceans, to whom all ships and we who venture upon your vast domain are required to pay homage, I implore you in your graciousness to take unto your records and recollection this worthy vessel hereafter and for all time known as (say the name you’ve selected), guarding her with your mighty arm and trident and ensuring her of safe and rapid passage throughout her journeys within your realm. In appreciation of your munificence, dispensation, and in honor of your greatness, we offer these libations to your majesty and your court.
Make sure you have more champagne on hand, because you’ll need to pour it, minus one glass for you and one for the mate, into the water, this time from west to east.
3 thoughts on “New Boat, New Name”
Awesome, best wishes with “Fearless “!
Phil: maybe head to Hangzhou!
What an encouraging new sailboat!
Fearless, a fitting name for the boat & captain who sails this vessel. I’m looking forward to seeing her dance through the water.
May the wind be always at your back Captain.