lu·cid·i·ty n.

Clarity, especially mental clarity.

For years as Gretchen and I looked for the perfect cruising boat we also enjoyed perusing boat names in search of the perfect one. Sailboat names are as varied as their owners and the multiplicity of names, themes, and colors seemed endless. Sailors take boat names seriously, we discovered, and they use a lot of imagination while making their choice.

Eventually we found and bought our perfect boat, but we still lacked a name. We'd seen many unique and interesting names out there, but out of all those we saw not a single one of them stuck in our minds as just right. We wanted a name that was uniquely ours, that somehow suited our personalities and lifestyles. It was important that it be just the right choice. We all know names have power and influence, otherwise Elton John would still be Reginald Dwight and John Wayne would still be Marion Morrison. They also have permanence; once we documented the boat we'd be stuck with the name we'd chosen. So whatever we selected had to fit like a key in a lock.

We had our own list with names that had some kind of personal connection; Wind Serpent, Remedy, PainKiller, (My wife and I are pharmacists) Xanwar, Xanadu, Step by Step, Res Ipsa (Latin for “it speaks for itself”) Brimstone (we could name the dingy Fire), Fevre Dream, Kaleidoscope, Tirtha (The Hindu version of the Twilight Zone), Crazy Horse, Silent Lucidity, Vanishing Point and a lot more. We saw a lot of names we liked; Lost Soul, for instance. But I didn't want a name from a high-profile boat that everyone's heard about. I also like Unlikely, but that too is taken. Pura Vida is good, but not quite perfect.

I had the thought that something warrior-like might be good, something to let other people know they don't want to mess with this boat. Terminator. Armageddon. Ragnarok. Bonecrusher. But none of those fit the peacefulness we seek in sailing.

Inevitably we came back to Silent Lucidity, the title of a song from the group Queensryche. We just liked the connotations. However, those two words are a mouthful. Hard to say all those syllables on the VHF. And other than liking the song it doesn't have any special meaning to us. (If I had to pick a song name it'd be “Wild Thing” or “Ina Gadda Da Vida.”)

Then one day it struck us that dropping the first word, leaving simply “Lucidity”, fits on a couple of levels. All my adult life I've admired people and philosophies that promote and practice clear thinking. Richard Feynman springs to mind as one of the smartest people to advocate clear and rational thinking. Carl Sagan taught it. Isaac Asimov lectured on it. Spock was my favorite character on Star Trek. His logic is a kind of lucidity. I respect clarity of thought in any form, from fiction to science to philosophy.

Lucidity also works on another level; as a icon of escape. On land the world is arguably going insane. Proselytizing in schools, corrupt politicians, obnoxious advertising, blood-sucking corporations, overpopulation; books have been written about the ills of modern society. Aboard a boat, however, we feel disconnected from all that. Just the act of pushing off from the dock is spiritually lifting, even if it's just for a couple hours sail. Aboard we find our own… “Lucidity”