What’s In a Boat Name? A Lot, Actually

This article is from the fall edition of Mobile Baykeeper’s print quarterly, CURRENTS. The magazine is mailed to active members who have given more than $50 in 2023. To get on the magazine’s mailing list, donate here.

by Caine O’Rear

There is a fine art to naming a boat. It is not a task to be entered into lightly. Of course, a boat’s name says as much about its owner as it does the vessel and there is often a good story behind the name — or there should be anyway. 

Mozal Tov — the winner of Mobile Baykeeper’s inaugural “Best Boat Name” contest — is the name of Glenn Stadd’s 1964 Pearson Resolute 20 sailboat, which he keeps docked at the Buccaneer Yacht Club.

Mozal tov (often spelled Mazel tov) is a common Yiddish expression that is used to convey “congratulations.” But there’s more to it than that. Glenn says there is a winking subtext to this seemingly earnest phrase: “It really means congratulations … it’s about time,” he says with a laugh.

It was the “it’s about time” connotation that led Glenn to christen his sloop Mozal Tov. You see, it took some time for this day-sailor to get the boat operating in the water. When he bought it six or seven years ago, there was a hole in the back of the boat which flooded the keel and caused it to sink whenever it was in the Bay.

At one point, it was docked at Fairhope Yacht Club but was removed for being too sink-prone. People commonly referred to it as the “Dead Man’s Boat” because its original owner had died while working on it. It seemed for a time that the craft was all but cursed. 

Glenn was able to get the Mozal Tov fully repaired three years ago and started sailing it successfully after that. “My friend Josh Dupree told me it was the first time in 30 years the boat had sailed the Bay on its own,” he says. Indeed, it was about time

A retired Army and Air Force veteran, Glenn spends his days sailing the Mozal Tov with his dog and first-mate Lillie. “It’s a real simple boat to sail,” he says. “It’s very stable and a good family-boat where you can fit kids and dogs in with a big cooler.” 

A fixture on the Buccaneer Yacht Club scene, Glenn says the learning curve for sailing Mobile Bay is pretty tough, but well worth it in the end. “Once you get it down, you become a better sailor.” 


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