Bands, Songs, and Boat Names

Published on April 15th, 2020

by Craig Leweck, Scuttlebutt Sailing News
It was a lifetime ago when I raced as a young man on Love Machine, a Peterson 41 with a rich history which Jack Butefish had brought to California from the east coast. Jack kept the name, and it was not uncommon for us to play that song from The Miracles too loud. Having a boat with an anthem was cool.

Fast forward to 2016, my wife and I were in San Francisco for the National Sailing Hall of Fame induction, and were about to take ownership of an Alerion 28. We needed a boat name, and while in an Irish pub with a bad cover band, they lit up Tom Petty’s American Girl. Bingo!

Though we don’t have Butefish’s thumping deck speakers, American Girl is required listening onboard, an iconic tune for an iconic design from Carl Schumacher with history dating back to Nat Herreshoff’s 1916 design Alerion. She is an American girl.

When the question was asked of me recently which musical group inspired the most boat names, I got curious enough to post on Facebook, both my personal page and Scuttlebutt, and was overwhelmed with how many people named boats after songs. I had no idea it was a thing.

Boat names like Samba Pa Ti (Carlos Santana), Aliens Ate My Buick (Thomas Dolby), Althea (Grateful Dead), and School’s Out for Summer (Alice Cooper). There are hundreds of them.

So now I ask, what was it about the song (and please name the band too) that elevated it to become a boat name? Offer your story below in the comments box.

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