Monday, June 29, 2009

Renaming a Boat

On a recent trip to the Bay Area, we were fortunate to attend the renaming of a boat owned by sailors close to us.

The main issues here seem to be disposing of a name that is inconsistent with the new sailor's personality, while not pissing off the gods of the seas and winds.

One rechristening I witnessed replaced the name Three Sheets to the Wind. Since the owner involved is not a heavy drinker and usually has things trimmed properly, this seemed reasonable. An almost automatic name change involves the purchase of a boat with the name of an ex-wife.

In addition to the DMV and/or the Coast Guard, every vessel name is recorded in the Ledger of the Deep and is known personally by Poseidon.

Pissing off Poseidon is the last thing a sailor wants to do. When angry, he has been known to take away all wind for weeks, send rogue waves to swallow you in the night or my favorite the shark attack.

There is a long list of things on the ocean that require Poseidon's blessing. Obtaining permission usually involves asking for the thing nicely and pouring a shot of rum overboard. This is a small hardship since it is followed by a round for the crew.

The renaming has two parts. First is the removal of the name from the Ledger of the Deep with the appropriate rum tossed overboard. Next, is the re-christening where the vessel is bathed in champagne. Owners of smaller boats may pour the champagne over the bow. Even cheap champagne may come in a fiberglass smashing bottle. Each part has an a short invocation with many variants. Our host used something very similar to Vigor's Interdenominational Boat Denaming Ceremony. The two previous boats that I witnessed used the same. Neither has sunk or been becalmed for weeks, so this must be adequate.

One other thing, all traces of the old name must be removed from the boat and her possessions. No item with the new name should be taken aboard prior to Poseidon getting his shot. This last bit may explain the special "bikini top" our host made to hide the name before the ceremony. He had a hailyard hooked to the "bikini". With the flick of the wrist, he "set the puppies free" as the champagne was poured. This was, of course, followed by a round for the crew.

Fair winds to Bliss and all who sail on her.

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