A Flicka Called Sampaguita
Sampaguita is the name of my 1985 Pacific Seacraft Flicka 20. She had that name before I ever met her. Who am I to change a 28-year-old’s name?
Admittedly, I did not know what it meant before I met her and it turns out, very few Americans are hip to it’s meaning. Sampaguita is the common name for Jasminum sambac (Arabian jasmine) in the Philippines. It is their national flower. Apparently, it comes from the Spanish term “sumpa kita” which means, ‘I promise you.’ It is considered a symbol of fidelity, devotion, purity, strength, and dedication. I’m OK with all that.
In the United States, the name is received with some blank stares and with “can you spell that?” This has its pluses and minuses. For example, on the VHF radio hardly anyone can understand and repeat it. This is a safety issue. I have learned to shorten it to Sampy for that forum. On the other hand, to my relief, it’s never going to be on the Top 10 Boat Names of the Year.
The only people who have taken particular notice of the name, have been Filipino. Most notably, there was a border customs official stationed in Friday Harbor, WA. I checked in through him after returning from Canada. Twice. Both times he commented on her name affectionately and mentioned he was from the Philippines. I love the irony.
She also does not advertise her name the way it seems customary for boats to do. I know her name is Sampaguita because, if I look in the right spot, up close, I can see graphics stating it. It seems the color has been long polished from them. I like the discreteness. I suppose if I ever have her Coast Guard documented, rejuvenation will be required. Until then, her papers, hull ID, and state registration numbers are what matters when it comes to legal identification. Pretty much the same as for humans or automobiles.