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What’s in a name

Haarlem, 25 January 2016

This article has previously been published in the 18th edition of PILOT.

Studies show that around ninety percent of sailing yacht names are thought up by women. Whether that also applies to Feadships we cannot say, but whatever the gender of the person who came up with the monikers there have been some wonderfully diverse names over the years. Here’s a small selection of those for which we know the meaning...

SUSSURRO

The Italian word sussurro means whisper or murmur, and to see the stately elegance of Sussurro on the water is to immediately recognise how fitting the name is. In this day of electric propulsion we increasingly use the term ‘whisper-quiet’ but anyone who has experienced how unobtrusive Sussurro’s – diesel and gas turbine – engines are despite her combined 15,000 hp and cruising speed of 38 knots will see the connection.

APRIL FOOL

The launch of the 61-metre April Fool on the 1st of April 2006 had an added touch of romance to it. In an emotional ceremony the owner dedicated the yacht to his wife, whom he first met on April Fools’ Day 1955. There was barely a dry eye in the house!

YEMOJA

Translated from a word in old African language, Yemoja means goddess of the sea. Launched in 1994 for an African chieftain, her interior was also built around an African theme with statues of warriors displayed prominently on special carpets. Built for an African chieftain, Yemoja was also one of the first Feadships with a dedicated gym.

BLACKHAWK IV

Blackhawk IV was built for American entrepreneur Arthur Wirtz, owner of the Chicago Blackhawks ice hockey team. The title of both this famous club and Wirtz’s yachts originated in his admiration for the 19th century American Indian chief of the same name. “Just like every Indian, one likes to have a bigger canoe” said Wirtz during his launch speech in 1971.

HURRICANE RUN

Hurricane Run is named after one of the owners’ racing horses, which won the coveted Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe by two lengths along with other top races such as the King George Stakes and the Irish Derby. This 54-metre Feadship from 2010 was the second for the same clients after High Chaparral six years earlier, also named after a pedigree equine performer.

90% of the names are thought up by women

KATRION

An intensely private man, the owner’s primary stipulation for the 48-metre Feadship Katrion was that she be a family- oriented vessel: Indeed, the very name is an anagram of those of his wife and two children. When the yacht was completed in 2003, it contained many different manifestations of the family theme and set a new standard in this respect.

HIGHLANDER

Hailing originally from the Highlands of Scotland, there was little doubt which name the Forbes family would choose for their Feadships. Intended as floating ‘business cards’, four were built between 1957 and 1986. Instantly recognised throughout the world, these yachts remain a legacy to the creative genius and commercial acumen of their owner, Malcolm Forbes.

RASSELAS

There were two Feadships called Rasselas, launched in 1994 and 2005 for the same owner. They are named after the Abyssinian fairy-tale prince created by Samuel Johnson in his 1759 apologue about happiness. It only took Johnson a week to write the story, while the innovative Feadships named Rasselas took a great deal longer to create.

TITS

Launched in 1996, the name of this 55-metre Feadship raised a few eyebrows when she was called Tits. Ensuring that everyone was kept abreast of the situation, the owner also called the yacht’s tenders Nipple 1 and Nipple 2.

BATTERED BULL

Battered Bull was launched in 1995 for a very successful stock market investor. ‘Bull’ is obviously a reference to the bullish (rising) stock market, while ‘battered’ was presumably a nod to the risks involved in the world of shares and bonds. Battered Bull was certainly an adventurous yacht, making two circumnavigations in her first five years afloat.

IROQUOIS

The name Iroquois had great symbolic meaning to her American owner, being the title of one of his breakthrough business operations in the mid 1980s. This financial success story owed its name in turn to the Iroquois American Indians, whose noble history includes being the first tribe to have its own prescribed constitution. All in all, this was a suitably distinguished background for a 50-metre yacht of character and sophistication, delivered to her delighted owner in 1998.

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