Tuesday, August 23, 2011

What's in a Name?

When I started this blog over six years ago I didn't give much thought as to what to call it. I picked on Proper Course partly because I had been following a (now defunct) blog called Stay of Execution. I liked that phrase "Stay of Execution" because it had multiple meanings: a technical term in the author's professional work at the time (bankruptcy lawyer), a reference to her real first name Scheherazade (One Thousand and One Nights - get it?), and probably also a vague reference to other stuff going on in her life at the time. Proper Course has a very precise meaning too in the world of sailboat racing (even if most racing sailors don't really understand exactly what it is and when it's relevant) and of course has an every day meaning too. So that was the title I chose and now I'm stuck with it.

And talking of the similarity between writing blog posts and writing popular songs (as we were) I could also draw a parallel between how little thought goes into choosing titles for blogs and how little thought many performing artists and groups give to choosing their stage names before they too, sooner than they think, are stuck with those names for the rest of their lives.

So Proper Course it was. And then I noticed over the years that several other bloggers decided to name their blogs using short phrases from the world of sailing that were also somewhat ambiguous.

We have Apparent Wind a blog that surely deserves a much better title than something that implies its content is nothing more than exhaled air.

There is Center of Effort, a title that really does reflect the hard work that the author puts into her job as a sailing coach and instructor, and into her blog posts.

Also in this genre is Favored End, a blog I really enjoy reading, but there are such long gaps between posts that I really do keep thinking it has come to an end, favored or otherwise.

And only last week we have a new sailing blog by a recent college graduate who promises to write about "everything from Match Racing and Team Racing to Big Boats, Finns, Lasers, the Olympics, and your good old Friday night beer can racing series at the local club." It's called Starbord Tack, a spelling which I assume is  a deliberate mistake.

Any others I am missing?


Jos said...

When I decided on 'Look to Windward' it was because I was reading a book by that title, not because it had great meaning in officiating or sailing.
Like you, now I'm stuck with it....

O Docker said...

Who knew, when I wandered into the marina office for a slip assignment on that fateful day six years ago, what a long and ominous shadow would be cast upon a previously carefree and unsuspecting dock?

Fred said...

Hmmm, yes, not really that I feel that you have missed my blog title but it is a coincidence that I thought about it lately. Thought about changing the name as it has morphed mainly into a Moth blog within the Moth community (see first link on my linklist). But there still is some "racing" left in my life as well as for my blog. And I hope to have enough motivation to blog about it.

tillerman said...

I guess that's one advantage of choosing a vague title like Proper Course. It won't really matter what kind of sailing I do in the future and it will still fit. And even if I give up sailing and turn it into a restaurant blog or a running blog or even some vague kind of retirement lifestyle blog, I can still keep the same title.

I notice that http://starboardtack.blogspot.com/ is actually some kind of personal reflective diary - not about sailing at all. That's presumably why the last blog I mention in my post had to misspell "starboard"!

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