Renaming and Relettering the Boat

Our newest family member, our 42′ Beneteau Idylle, came with the name Mist Maiden. Since we were planning to take her further afield than the misty Pacific Northwest, we wanted something that wasn’t so dreary and a little more “us.” We found that many people we spoke to thought we were saying “Miss Maiden” and found that spelling her out on the radio using the phonetic alphabet (Mike India Sierra Tango…Mike Alpha India Delta Echo November) was excruciating.


We were aware of the old naval traditions and superstitions stating that renaming a boat is bad luck. However, Mist Maiden was not our girl’s first, or even second, name. So, we decided to throw caution to the wind by changing her name but planned to do as much as we could to appease Poseidon’s wrath.

We did a lot of brainstorming on what to choose for the new name. She was registered with Transport Canada so we needed to choose a name that was not taken by any other registered boat in Canada. We had a short-list of a few names and had the kids help us decide. Steve is big into chess and since our boat was a Beneteau and had French origins, En Passant (“in passing”) was one of the top picks. Unfortunately, it was also hard for people to understand and was a b**** to spell out phonetically. Our final choice, Moment, got an A+ mark from Paige, and although Spencer was still stuck on En Passant, the majority ruled.

Why “Moment”?

It’s really important to me that our boat stay upright. When I was first learning about sailboats and how they work (and felt them heel over), I had to get Steve (and the all-knowing internet) to convince me that the boat actually wants to stay upright, and physics works in her favour. There is a force called the righting moment that helps the boat stay upright as it heels. Learning about the righting moment really helped ease my heeling anxiety.

We also liked that the name could have other meanings, such as “living in the moment,” “enjoy the moment,” “it’s a happy moment” and many others.  Steve’s talented sister, Laura, designed our new boat lettering, even incorporating the righting moment curve into the “n.” We sent the file to a local printer to print the vinyl lettering.

Moment FINAL Large-1

Removing the Vinyl Lettering

The first step in ensuring Poseidon wouldn’t smite us was to remove anything that had the old name on it. Apparently, the sea god can become confused if there is reference to more than one name on a boat. The boat came with log books and operating manuals that referenced Mist Maiden, and of course, her lettering also would have to be removed, which fell under my realm of responsibility. I gathered up the tools of the trade and got to work.

Heat gun, “goo gone,” plastic scrubber, scrapers and fine sandpaper
Since the boat is a registered vessel, it doesn’t need license numbers
If I used the heat gun too long it melted the glue to the hull and made it harder to remove (see the #9 on the far left)
Some ghosting remained, but was removed with a little wet sanding

After the old names were removed, the hull was cleaned and dry and we had a sunny forecast, it was time to install the new lettering. The kids got decked out to help (maybe they were expecting us to throw them overboard if they got too rowdy!).

Our two goofballs ready to help install the new lettering

We measured, re-measured, and measured again to ensure we had enough space to fit the lettering on the stern. Our home port was still Vancouver, so we didn’t want to replace the port lettering or obscure it. Steve used a plastic scraper (while I took pictures) to get rid of all the bubbles.

Placing the lettering on the stern
The Final Result

We also installed smaller names on port and starboard towards the bow. When the new name was on and all evidence of Mist Maiden had been removed, it was time for the renaming ceremony.

Renaming Ceremony

We invited our friends, Nicole, Keith and their two kids, to the boat to celebrate the re-naming of Moment and go for an afternoon sail. We all stood at the bow to offer some champagne to Poseidon (we were fresh out of the blood of a virgin, so we settled on something a little easier, and legal, to procure). We gave the kids some sparkling apple juice so they could be part of the ceremony. When the pomp and circumstance was over we went on a delightful sail and had some fun with our friends.

Fun with friends!

One thought on “Renaming and Relettering the Boat

  1. Hi Shelley & Steve, all the best for your trip, we will be following your adventures in your blog.

    Good luck
    Ignacio, Anika, Patti & Javier

    Liked by 1 person

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