There are several things he could do:
Perhaps he could pay the new owner to change it? Offer to pay for new stickers, etc of whatever the new owner wanted. There's a price
He could offer to buy the boat back, pull the name off, and then resell it.
He could pick up and move.
He could not sit out and look at the lake anymore.
He could change his attitude about it, and be glad the ol' girl is still sailing proudly displaying the name he had given it.
Those are options that I bet will be met with resistance, but options nonetheless...
Me thinks your friend has a severe case of regret-itis, and perhaps while it does hurt to see what was once his boat out there on the water
providing enjoyment to someone else - that someone else did pay him to purchase
the boat, and that includes the stickers on the back with the name.
Your friend should have pulled the name off the boat before the sale
, or stipulated it in a sales contract
that it mush be changed. Neither of which were done, and therefore, your friend is stuck with the consequences of the choices he has made.
Let's not pin the responsibility of this on the new owner of the boat, and suggesting there would be legal options makes it seem so, it's rightly your friend's problem and he's just going to have to pull up his big girl panties and get over it at this point if asking nicely doesn't help.
Once again another shining example of people not happy with the consequences of their actions and wanting to shift responsibility (by implying the new owner is somehow in the wrong).
I wonder.... if he had a dog, and had to give it up due to age and health
, and the new owner took it for walks in the neighborhood, if he'd want the dog's name to change too?
Chances are like svDragonfly said, a name change alone wouldn't make it any better, and it's really the joy and experiences and realizing those are gone that's what hurts.