Driving to the dock where the sellers had taken our boat after closing, we were excited to begin the process of making her La Vie Dansante. Barbara had ridden along with Joseph, the seller’s broker, when he moved the boat off Atlantic Cruising Yacht’s pier to her new temporary home. While we had been on the boat several times before, this trip was different for her. This time it was our boat, and Barbara had an exciting mini-adventure on this sunset voyage up the new river to the dock we had arranged to keep her on for a spell while we made some initial improvements.
Finding a dock in Fort Lauderdale that allows you to live aboard and work on your boat is no easy task. This one was 4 miles up Fort Lauderdale’s New River, snuggled up against the I-95 bridge supports, right across the water from Lauderdale Marine Center. It offered us electricity, water and plenty of access.
A couple of weeks after returning home from moving the boat down the New River, Barbara now accompanied me as we drove halfway across the continent – from Fort Worth to Fort Lauderdale, arriving back at the dock in our Ram 1500 truck loaded with all kinds of homey items from to begin, aesthetically at least, making this sailing catamaran our home.
There was no shortage of projects awaiting us, but the first priority was getting our chosen name on our boat. Of course, this first necessitated removing the old name, so I immediately set to work with a heat gun and a plastic putty knife to peel off the old remnants of her former life. It took me about half a day, but I finally managed to get all the old name off in time for the crucially important renaming ceremony.
Renaming a boat is a ritual forged in lore and tradition. It is a mystical and significant ceremony. Our own experience would be no exception!
The first in a series of curious incidents occurred the evening before our renaming ceremony. The renaming was to be attended by Barbara’s kids, Dalton and Brooke, and their guests, as well as John and Daniella – a Navy buddy of mine and his wife. Some new friends we met at this new dock home came over and rounded out our distinguished guest list for the affair.
Brooke and her guest had just arrived and were on their boat orientation tour – learning, among other things, the art of working a marine toilet. I was topside when I heard Brooke shriek “Eeeewwwwww”! As I scurried down the companionway, I looked past her to see the source of her shock.
… floating by with legs in the air was … a dead, bloated … F** I****a!
Yes, the boat’s former namesake was now floating down the river, DEAD! Of course, there’s only one way to interpret this sign – as a clear omen that Poseidon smiled favorably on our renaming and was encouraging us to proceed!
As the big day arrived, I’d be given my own opportunity to please Poseidon and set our boat’s fate in motion!
Our guests gathered near the bow dressed appropriately for the occasion. I began the ceremony, the first part of which involved expunging the boat’s former name from the Ledger of the Deep and Poseidon’s memory. We had imprinted the former name on a metal ingot, and Barbara had it ready to cast into the deep to be corrupted by the sea. As my elegant wife prepared to toss the ingot into the sea, I readied the bottle of champagne (top of the line, of course, as to spare no expense) to dedicate our boat and toast the four winds.
I stepped to the front of the boat, lifting the bottle to toast the north wind. As I shifted my weight forward on the wet forebeam, my feet … well, here’s actual footage …
… and again, in slo-mo for you callous barbarians who enjoyed that a little too much …
Of course, “the show must go on”, so I swam around the boat, toasting each cardinal heading as I passed it – To the East, To the South, To the West! After finally completing this important tribute, my hysterical guests helped me back aboard.
Now, IMHO, taking the ceremony into the water was important in two very special ways:
1) I had the humbling opportunity to deliver Poseidon his libation … personally, thereby gaining his eternal favor!
2) Poseidon obviously orchestrated my dive to strip me of the undesirable “Captain” cap I was wearing – thereby expressing his preference for the alternate cover – a weathered and worldly Tilley hat – that has adorned my crown when aboard La Vie Dansante ever since!
As awkward as my spontaneous gymnastics may have appeared, they were clearly important to the eventual entry of La Vie Dansante into the Ledger of the Deep, and to our adventures on the high seas!
And adventures we had! Installation of Barbara’s custom cockpit table, new canvas and decking immediately followed the naming of La Vie Dansante, then it was time to reposition her to Pier 66 Marina, closer to the ocean in Fort Lauderdale. The next step was for Barbara and me to sail her home – to Naval Air Station Key West and it’s Boca Chica marina. It would be the first time Barbara and I had sailed by ourselves … and it would take 4 days!