The Naming Ceremony
We have boat name, now what? The next step required some researching.
What do we do about the actual process, the ceremony, the denaming, the renaming? What were the rules? The protocols? Did we care? We again turned to the internet and combined ideas from a variety of sites and blogs. In the end what mattered was that we felt we had done the process justice and had a lot of fun doing it (and drinks). Any excuse for a party! With the added bonus of allaying that niggly iota of superstition that goes along with going off to sea…
We did perhaps go a little overboard… Take what you will and feel free to share your own ceremonies!
The following with my personal adaptations is from http://www.boatnames.com.au/boat-naming-renaming-ceremony.htm
Boat Name Purging
Invite your friends and family and whomever is around at the time…
Make sure you have lots of champagne!
Eliminate ALL references and trace of the boat’s current identity, even to the extent of whiting out the name in the ship’s log and taking the name off the life ring.
Nothing bearing the new name may come aboard until after the renaming ceremony.
With water soluble marker, record the old name on a metal tag (we didn’t have one but we did have a bottle opener). Again because I’m thrifty and cheap, I attached a line to it as who wants to lose a bottle opener? Plus, I have strict rules about tossing things overboard (more on this to come).
Begin by invoking the name of the ruler of the deep as follows in your best Richard Burton voice:
Oh mighty and great ruler of the seas and oceans, to whom all ships and we who venture upon your vast domain are required to pay homage, implore you in your graciousness to expunge for all time the name d’Artagnan which has ceased to be an entity in your kingdom. As proof thereof, we submit this ingot bearing her name to be corrupted through your powers and forever be purged from the sea. (Drop the prepared metal tag or bottle opener from the bow into the sea, lake, body of water. I’m not sure how this impacts other boats with the expunged name…)
In grateful acknowledgement of your munificence and dispensation, we offer these libations to your majesty and your court. (Pour at least half of the bottle of champagne into the sea from East to West. The remainder may be passed among your guests. Fortunately my mom donated a 30 year old magnum of Bright’s President Champagne which had not aged well and really was undrinkable, corked, rancid, and perfect for the pouring. I don’t think Poseidon minded and no worries, drinkable bubbly was on hand for the guests!)
Invoke the ruler of the deep by saying:
Oh mighty and great ruler of the seas and oceans, to whom all ships and we who venture upon your vast domain are required to pay homage, implore you in your graciousness to take unto your records and recollection this vessel hereafter and for all time known as Shearwater 1, guarding her with your mighty arm and trident and ensuring her of safe and rapid passage throughout her journeys within your realm.
In appreciation of your munificence, dispensation and in honour of your greatness, we offer these libations to your majesty and your court. (Pour champagne into the sea from West to East)
If you really want to be thorough, especially if you’re a sailor, continue with appeasing the Gods of the winds. In the Northern hemisphere say,
Oh mighty rulers of the winds, through whose power our frail vessels traverse the wild and faceless deep, we implore you to grant this worthy vessel Shearwater 1 the benefits and pleasure of your bounty, ensuring us of your gentle ministration according to our needs.
Facing North fling Champagne from your flute as you intone:
Great Boreas, exalted ruler of the North Wind, grant us permission to use your mighty powers in the pursuit of our lawful endeavours, ever sparing us the overwhelming scourge of your frigid breath.
Face West, again fling champagne from your flute to the west saying:
Great Zephyrus, exalted ruler of the West Wind, grant us permission to use your mighty powers in the pursuit of our lawful endeavours, ever sparing us the overwhelming scourge of your wild breath.
Facing East, repeat after flinging champagne to the East: Great Eurus, exalted ruler of the East Wind, grant us permission to use your mighty powers in the pursuit of our lawful endeavours, ever sparing us the overwhelming scourge of your mighty breath.
Facing South, repeat after flinging to the South: Great Notus, exalted ruler of the South Wind, grant us permission to use your mighty powers in the pursuit of our lawful endeavours, ever sparing us the overwhelming scourge of your scalding breath.
And to conclude:
The following with my personal adaptations is from http://commanderbob.com/boat-christening-ceremony/ (which I liked because we all got to drink!)
Again in your best powerful voice say:
For thousands of years, we have gone to sea. We have crafted vessels to carry us and we have called them by name. These ships will nurture us through perilous seas, and so we affectionately call them “she”. ( I struggled with this as I prefer gender neutral terms and believe men are nurturing. I do have to confess to thinking my boat is female. Adapt for what works for you.) To them we toast, and ask to celebrate Shearwater 1. Please raise your glasses and repeat, ‘To the sailors of old! To Shearwater 1’. The moods of the sea are many, from tranquil to violent. We ask that this ship be given the strength to carry on. The keel is strong and she keeps out the pressures of the sea. Raise your glasses and shout, ‘To the Sea, to the Sailors of old. To the Sea.’ (followed by another sip…)
Today we come to to name this vessel Shearwater 1 and send her to sea to be cared for and to care for the Andres/MacLachlan family. We ask the sailors of old and the mood of God that is the sea to accept Shearwater 1 as her name, to help her through her passages, and allow her to return with her crew safely. Again everyone raise your glass and repeat, ‘To the sea. To the sailors before us. To Shearwater 1’ (followed by a long sip!).
At this point pour champagne over the bow to appease King Neptune (Yes, I’m fickle -I went with 2 different ceremonies to cover my bases. I’m not messing with Neptune and Poseidon) and then lay a branch of green leaves on the deck to ensure safe returns. Follow the ceremony with drinks, food and merriment! Of course it is now considered safe to bring aboard any items with the new boat name!
Celebrate, knowing you’ve done what you could to appease the gods, allay superstitions and have fun, with a suitable sense of occasion. Cheers!