1) The Explanation Test. How often do you want to explain what the name means?Bizarre Greek gods, in-jokes, and foreign words usually fail this test. Names that are difficult to spell fall in this category.
2) The Non-cute Test. How sappy is the boat name? Puns, childhood nicknames, and in-jokes usually fail this test.
3) The Brevity Test. “Brevity is the soul of wit” and the soul of boat names. Imagine repeating your boat name 3 times, preceded by a “Mayday”(or is that “M’aidez”, Pierre?). Still sound like a good name?
4) The Hubris Test. If you’re racing, try not to pick names like “MagicBullet”, “Blew By You” (see test 2), or “Clear Ahead”, unless you feel you can live up to them.
5) The “Been There, Done That” Test. Don’t name your boat after a type of wind (Zypher, Sirroco, Breeze), or an alcoholic beverage. Unless, of course, that’s what the boat tells you her name is.
6) The Embarrassment Factor. Imagine explaining your boat’s name to someone you don’t like, and who doesn’t like you. If grudging respect is not a possible outcome, you may wish to reconsider.
7) The Corruption Test. What will your ‘friends’ call your boat? e.g. White Hawk=White Cloud or Serenity=Senility.
8) The Omen test. Followed a boat cutely named ‘Das Broke’ out one day. He promptly drove over a submerged section of break wall at high speed and sank.
9) The radio Test. “Over and Out” would be a bad name. … “This is Summertime calling Over and Out. Do you copy?” Huh??
The above rules should be weighted by how much, if at all, you care about what others think of you and your boat.
(Credits the above rules were developed by reading issue after issue of “Latitude 38”, including (if memory serves) a short piece on the rules of naming boats. Lat38 is especially responsible for rules 1 and 4).