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  • Holly

Sailboat Name & Artwork

We have been given so many compliments on our sailboat artwork, and for those who know what it means, our boat name. I thought I would do a post on this since while we can take credit for the name, we got help on the artwork and thank goodness we did because our version would have been a train wreck.

The symbol and the name.

Coming to consensus as a married couple on a boat name is a true exercise in love and tolerance. You leave it to a man and you get things like ‘Ship Happens’ or ‘CodFather’, which are perfectly fine names but don’t fully express the inner soul of a vessel born from years of dreaming, inspiration and emotional commitment.

The first name we landed on was Geronimo but it later dawned on us that it would take a while to spell out in the phonetic alphabet if we hadn’t completely lost our brains in the event of an emergency. Our criteria shifted to 1) it had to be meaningful and speak to us and 2) it had to be under four letters, which certainly narrowed things down.

Stephane is originally from Brittany so we knew we wanted to weave in some traditional breton/celtic symbolism there, which for anyone who has been to that region of France is the second coolest thing after the first coolest thing which is that creperies are their version of Starbucks and are on every street corner. They put these symbols on literally everything, and we fell in love with the triskele in particular. Turns out, no one really knows what it means, it’s sort of like a MadLib ‘Triskele means the three dimensions of (blank) but the macro theme embodies harmony - something we could get behind.

We were in an old bookstore in France on a trip in 2018 and I picked up an old Breton book of meaningful words, which was serendipitous actually. We found the word Awen which essentially means that which inspires you. We were jumping around in the bookstore like a couple of French soccer fans after winning a big game. It was perfect.

The artwork.

We started out with this crude idea that the triskele for us should mean harmony of wind, water and oceans creatures. We created this terrible sketch together which is what you get when to cross and engineer with a marketer with no art skills. We finally gave up trying to make something of our own and asked around the boat circles if anyone knew a good graphic artist and we found Mercedes Villar who is this amazingly talented woman who lives in A Coruna Spain who is also a sailor! Jackpot!

Our original sketch was a train wreck

I reached out to Mercedes and through email alone, (since we had to rely entirely on Google Translate to communicate), she was able to understand exactly what we wanted. We were floored! We asked her to somehow fuse all of these ideas together with a little Tahitian flair (since that’s our ultimate destination) and she worked magic. Not only that, she sent back ideas for bling and tattoos!

In addition to the core artwork, Mercedes gave us a ton of fun ideas.

The decals.

When we got to La Rochelle, we were motivated to get the new artwork on the boat because what was there was a black tape version done by our dealer to pass muster with the BVI authorities in order the register the boat immediately post-factory. We had to send them photos of the boat markings and the boat name on the stern of the boat. They must have been laughing hysterically when they saw our picture because not only is it atrocious, Road Harbour is spelled wrong.

Anyway, when we got to France I took the designs to La Rochelle Creation to see what they could do and what it would cost. With my handy translation app, we worked with the team there and with Mercedes to get the right color and dimension for the boat, since she couldn’t do that remotely. The designer at LRC mocked everything up and I kept telling her to make the name bigger. I dunno, I just wanted to boat name on the port and starboard aft hulls to make a statement. There’s just so much white on these boats and I wanted it to be less IKEA and more moxie.

About a week or so later they came down with the decals to put them on the boat. They start with the large decals with the papers still on and they started to line everything up. I was a little nervous I'll be honest. So was the woman in charge at the dock because she was smoking cigarettes like a champ. It was a big job for them but they were meticulous and I felt for them because it was hot as hell outside and they had to dangle half their bodies in the water to get it put on right.

Two days later, it was all put on the and WOW, it looks incredible but the name on the boat...I mean, it's just so...BIG!

A few weeks later we are making our way around Sardinia, the Aeolian Islands, Sicily and under the boot of Italy. During this time people are waving at us and giving us thumbs up, commenting on our decals and the boat name, and saying they saw us anchored at such and so. We had a couple people go online, find our blog and send us emails inviting us to come visit them in different places which was super cool.

My position on the decals is go big or go home!

We later got our very own stamp, which apparently is a thing when you need to work with customs to receive packages.

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