Ramblings From the Dockside The A to Z Challenge

C is for Cambria

Monday, April 04, 2016S.V. CAMBRIA

During the month of April, we're participating in the Blogging From A to Z Challenge where every day (excluding Sundays) we'll be posting to the blog . . . alphabetically. The overall theme we've chosen to tie all the entries together is living aboard a boat and cruising – things we've learned along the way: our thoughts, reflections, and tips for those just starting out or who are interested in this lifestyle.

Cambria at anchor in front of the Stone Store in Kerikeri, New Zealand before we changed her name (please note the incredibly cute dog on the aft deck).
What’s in a name? There are two versions as to how Cambria got hers: David’s and the truth. But before I can recount either, I need to give you the back story:

When we bought Cambria, she was called No Rush. Our friends thought it was the perfect name for us because, honestly, we don’t seem to do anything in a hurry. David, especially, is fastidious and rarely makes a decision without a lot of thought and consideration . . . and that takes time. But No Rush was a name that really got David’s hackles up. For starters, it fell on the lighter side of the spectrum and didn’t reflect who we are as sailors . . . or people. More importantly, the guy we bought her from owned another Westerly Ocean 43 registered in the US under the same name.

Funnily enough, we kept it for two years.

That’s because naming a boat can be a really difficult thing to do. It becomes a part of you and how you’re known. Once you own a boat, you’re no longer David and Stephanie Gardiner. No. You’re the Cambrians or Sky Walker (our previous boat). If we were going to “wear” it, we wanted to wear it well.

We went through the whole process: we bought books, we made lists, we printed the names out in different fonts to see how they’d look. But nothing stuck. We just couldn’t seem to find a name that we both loved. And then one day I was taking Sally (our former dog) for a walk in Bayswater, a suburb of Auckland, New Zealand. It was one of those overcast mornings that threaten to rain at any minute. But just as I was passing a house with a stone fence, the sun broke through the clouds and shone on a brass plaque which read: CAMBRIA (people in the UK name their homes, a practice that sometimes makes it to former Commonwealth countries). I’d walked past that house dozens of times and never noticed the sign before; but once I did, I knew I'd found it: Cambria was the perfect name for us and for our home. David agreed.

Why is Cambria perfect for us?

It’s short. It’s concise. It’s easy to say on the radio. But, more importantly, we have an emotional connection to the name. In 2000, we lived in Las Vegas. I was a teacher. David was a project management consultant and had just opened the Aladdin Hotel and Casino, a grueling process that kept him working 24, 30, 48 hours at a time. He needed to get out of town, so we decided to take the 101 up the coast to San Francisco before the school year started. And Cambria, California is basically where we pulled over to take a walk on the beach and first saw the ocean together, as a couple.

Here are a few other things we have in common with the name:

  • Cambria is the Medieval Latin name for the country, Wales. Though not Welsh, David is British and we wanted the boat name to reflect that in some way.
  • Saint David is the patron saint of Wales and my David (who is the furthest thing from a saint . . . but in a good way) is the captain of Cambria.
  • The Cambrian Period (in geological history) is the time when animals first appeared as fossils and marked a significant period of evolutionary change.
  • Britain’s first attempt at winning the America’s Cup was aboard the yacht Cambria in 1870. She finished 8th out of 14 boats.
So, what’s David’s version of how Cambria got her name? He points to the previous reasons I listed but completely ignores how the name came to my attention in the first place (which is not only wrong, but totally unromantic). In the end, it doesn’t really matter. Once the name was out there, we started to research it and the more we learned, the more it seemed to fit.

Now it’s your turn. Do you own a boat or an RV that you’ve (re)named? We’d love to hear your story below in the comments section or on our Facebook page!

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  1. It was meant to be-how wonderful! I love signs and this one was loud and clear~
    I will return to visit your blog and learn more about your adventures~

    1. That's how I like to look at it! Thanks, Ella!

  2. Your adventures sound lovely. I think your version of the naming of the boat is beautiful.

    Twitter: @KnottyMarie
    Literary Gold - Free and Bargain priced books
    Jingle Jangle Jungle

    1. I know, Mary. Leave it to David to be so boring and unromantic. ;)

  3. When I was little, my favorite thing to do in the summer was go down to the harbor and read the names of the ships :D It took us forever to make the walk around because I had to stop at each and every one and spell them out :)
    Cambria does sound like the prefect name!

    @TarkabarkaHolgy from
    The Multicolored Diary

    1. Thank you! And what a wonderful way to pass the time!

  4. I always wondered about your boat name...and now I know! It is a great name and it has a great backstory. Our boat name, Tickety Boo, isn't particularly easy to say on the VHF, but it also has NZ roots, as it was one of my favorite expressions when we lived there.

    1. Honestly, I think David just threw in the VHF requirement as an excuse to nix some of the names on my list. The whole story is that I won the right to name the boat in a game of acie ducie (a variation on backgammon), but he vetoed a lot of my earlier choices. If I had my way, the boat would have been called Waikari (the Maori words for water and garden -- our last name is Gardiner). But at the end of the day, I think Cambria was the right choice.

  5. I love the name and how perfect! We have an old transport ambulance that's been converted into a camper, we promised her former owners we'd keep the name... although by accident we spell it differently, we call her Mabel, whereas her former owners called her Mable. So we changed it by accident.

    I can't imagine calling her something different now, although I'll confess that I'm not sure she is a Mabel or a Mable!

    Mars xx
    @TrollbeadBlog from
    Curling Stones for Lego People

  6. Great name. I've not had a boat (or a house) to rename, but I have renamed some of my rescue animals (guinea pigs) - Hector had to give up being Hugo simply because Hugo would have been most offended if I brought another one in. The name Hector came to me as I drove him home. Oscar and Midge had other temporary names form their breeder, but I can't remember what. Oscar looked like an Oscar and Midge just seemed to follow. And Percy was called Mr Pig! I changed it to Mr Percy, and he's gradually become Percy, but still gets called Mr P on occasions.
    Sorry, I can go on for hours about them!
    Jemima Pett

  7. Our boat has a slightly silly but still acceptable name, that's also reasonably rare. As this is also the original name of the boat, we skipped the chore to look for a better name and adopted the original one. So now we're know in the marina by this slightly silly name, which goes quite well with my character. I think I had it coming.

    Renaming boats might be bring bad luck sometimes, but having a boat with an awful or presumptuous name brings bad karma every day. Renaming a boat with a bad name is an act of kindness.