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Old 03-07-2006
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Naming Her

I bought a boat back in the late fall and don't care much for her name. Is there anything wrong with changing a boats name with new ownership? I had heard that it was bad luck. Is there any truth to this?

Today is the first time I have been on your web-site. I really am getting alot out of it.
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Old 03-07-2006
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"I had heard that it was bad luck. Is there any truth to this?"

It depends on how superstitious you are.
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Old 03-07-2006
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Bad luck only applies to changing the name on a boat where the ownership hasn't changed. As long as you change the name within 180 days of first possession, the bad luck provisions related to a name change do not kick in.

Good luck.
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Old 03-07-2006
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Superstitions?

There is a renaming ceramony that you can perform. It involves some champainge and a toast to Neptune. You can google it.
We never did the ceramony and everything went great for us last year.

While were at it, what are some other sailing superstitions?

Like;
place a silver coin under your mast step for good luck,

and never start a cruise on a Friday thats bad luck. Wait until after midnight on Friday.
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Old 03-07-2006
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Boat De-naming/Christening Ceremony

It is wise not to tempt the sea gods!
First Remove ALL traces of the old name from the boat..log books, manuals etc. THEN....

Denaming Ceremony"In the name of all who have sailed aboard this ship in the past, and in the name of all who may sail aboard her in the future, we invoke the ancient gods of the wind and the sea to favor us with their blessing today.
"Mighty Neptune, king of all that moves in or on the waves; and mighty Aeolus (pronounced EE-oh-lus), guardian of the winds and all that blows before them:
"We offer you our thanks for the protection you have afforded this vessel in the past. We voice our gratitude that she has always found shelter from tempest and storm and enjoyed safe passage to port.
"Now, wherefore, we submit this supplication, that the name whereby this vessel has hitherto been known (_____), be struck and removed from your records.
"Further, we ask that when she is again presented for blessing with another name, she shall be recognized and shall be accorded once again the selfsame privileges she previously enjoyed.
"In return for which, we rededicate this vessel to your domain in full knowledge that she shall be subject as always to the immutable laws of the gods of the wind and the sea.
"In consequence whereof, and in good faith, we seal this pact with a libation offered according to the hallowed ritual of the sea." Christening CeremonyAfter a boat is denamed, you simply need to rename it using the traditional christening ceremony, preferably with Queen Elizabeth breaking a bottle of champagne on the bow, and saying the words: "I name this ship ___________ and may she bring fair winds and good fortune to all who sail on her."


with thanks to author John Vigor!

....and don't start any voyages on Friday!!
Best...BigGB
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Old 03-07-2006
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Here is one prior string on the subject: It began with a fellow questioning why we stick to superstitions in the 21st century.

In Reply to: Superstition be damned.
I'm not sure I get your point but it is clear to me that must be right that there is no place for silly superstitions. Now ritual which has definite cause and effect you must respect. Take the one about changing the name of a boat. I am sure this is just coincidence but of the twenty plus some boats owned by myself and my family, we only changed the name of three, that was the two that lost their masts and the one that was sunk on the rocks at Fort Toten. Not a large scientific sampling mind you, but a 100% correlation sounds like cause and effect to me. I don't believe in superstition only what can be proven by scientific method. I am glad you are willing to continue our testing where we left off. Bravo, my brave man.
Jeff (Think he bought that?)


With you all the way...at a safe distance! Posted by ACB on July 08, 1998:
It's a funny thing, but I have spent my life in commercial shipping and
while we do have to rename ships we are a deeply superstitious lot!
Actually, superstition has a sort of place in keeping up morale; if you
have complied with all the superstitions you feel better, and are
perhaps likely to perform better. We should know the physics of sailing
well enough by now, but the tired human brain after a few days at sea
needs all the support it can get!


Reply to: If you don't believe in senseless superstitions, why name a boat at all?
Perhaps it is my fault that my point did not come through, since I gave the posting a somewhat inflammatory title. I certainly was not slamming "respect and celebration of the world around us". I was making a much more focused point. I was trying to say that we should not be bound by practices which no longer make sense (see me examples re departure date and hull color). Particularly when these practices are in lieu of proper seamanship. As to your specific points, I am sure you would agree that something failed which resulted in those rigs coming down, and there is nothing mystical about things failing on sailboats. My rudder did not fall off because of bad Feng Shui. The pin ate through the wood after swinging back and forth for 15 years. Why not give the boat a name that captures its essence PLUS your relationship to it.


And I suppose, next you're going to tell me that whistling doesn't affect the wind strength!
Posted by Jeff H
Of course the fact that you changed the name of your boat had nothing to do with the fact that your rudder functioned perfectly for 15 years but chose to break after you changed the name of the boat. The fact that it broke clearly PROVES nothing at all. I think it is important that you keep testing. We all admire your bravery. And I suppose next your going to tell me that whistling doesn't affect the wind strength! After 37 years of testing and noting a direct correlation between wind speed and whistling, for me, I think that "superstition" has been proven to be actual scientific fact. I have tested this many times. Whenever I whistle on board the wind eventually increases in velocity. OK, so it doesn't happen immediately but sooner or later the winds increase. Ok, maybe it is a few days later, but it still works! Keep up the good work!
Jeff
(For those of you who are about to have me locked up, I want to point out that to some extent my comments on this are meant to be a bit tongue in cheek but only a bit.)


Posted by Evelyn Keller on June 04, 1998 :
I am looking for information, or a source or reference, where I can find out how to perform a ceremony (some suggested words to say & actions to take) to rename a boat formerly owned by someone else. I'd appreciate information from those who may have done this before, or the date, page number where I can find this information.


Posted by Jason on June 10, 1998 at 12:57:47:
If you have already bought the boat, it's too late! However, if you buy the boat without a name (have the current owner take her name off, and sell her without a name) you are free to name her whatever you wish. best of luck!
Jason


Posted by Carl Miller on June 05, 1998 at 05:40:24:
In a spirit of cooperation with the Name Gods, I would offer the following technique in renaming a boat:
An alternate method involves scraping off the old name and painting on the new name. However, first it is recommended that you empty the contents (internally of course) of a good 200-yr. old+ "Jose Cuervo" or "Sauza" Tequila.
This process cleanses the soul and prepares the boat for a proper skipper!
Then, there is plan "B" discovered ages ago by the Vikings. It will permanently remove the old name without the use of paint removers, putty knives, heat guns, but does employ the use of natural elements. This requires the flame as a result of natural lightning. One may arrest the Fire Gods thru the use of a torch. In the 2nd and final stage of the cleansing, one simply burns the sucker down to the water line and sets the boat adrift in a quiet place of your own choosing. There is an upside to the endeavor....it also removes stuff from those dark corners of the lockers, eliminates those old unsightly PFD's that are never thrown away, and at the same time, stains on the decks disappear forever.
p.s. the yellow stuff with a worm is probably Mescal not Tequila. Salud amigos!


Posted by ACB on June 05, 1998 at 01:51:07:
I am extremely superstitious about boats; the result of long experience. Re-naming a boat is a BAD IDEA and will certainly lead to trouble; better buy a different boat. Never paint a boat green or disaster will ensue (I know this to be true - bought a green painted boat, did not rename her but thought I would get through the first season without a repaint - lost rudder in North Sea.) Never start a cruise on a Friday. Never EVEN MENTION the long eared fellow on a boat and with due respect to Bob G I would advise against using the foot of the animal in any ceremony close to a boat. All Christian priests of whatever persuasion should be carefully avoided in any ceremonies to do with boats.

If you MUST do it, I have found during a career in merchant shipping in Asia that Shinto priests are capable of performing the renaming ceremony without ill-effects, and that a visit by a Feng Shui practitioner usually gets rid of residual ill-luck. If you cannot manage this them at least pour a libation to Tin Hau, the Taoist Queen of Heaven, who takes a special interest in small boats.

This is a true story. Two cargo passenger ships were built to run between Japan, Hong Kong and Australia. One was a perfect ship and nothing went wrong. The twin sister went aground twice (expensively, on Japanese oyster beds!) The Hong Kong crew demanded a Feng Shui man or they would not sail. He came on board and located the source of the trouble. In an alcove in the first class smoking room was an antique statue of the Buddha. He pronounced that this was a "land Buddha" and was always trying to get ashore, hence the groundings. No problem - he had a solution. He removed the rather expensive statue and reappeared with a very cheap and nasty one which he pronounced was a "sea Buddha" and installed in the alcove. The ship ran for the next 20 years with no more trouble!



Posted by ray on June 04, 1998 :
Check out the 48 North (PNW magazine) web site. They have a "Boat De-naming Ceremony" that you can down load and use. The author finds it critical that you "de-name" the boat correctly or you are in deep ....


This is EXACTLY what you must do
Posted by tomC on June 04, 1998 at 08:50:11:
Here it is, from the Fishmeal FAQ:
Yes, there *is* a way to change a boat's name without upsetting the various deities of the sea and air. First time out with the new name on the boat, luff up into the wind and drift to a complete stop, then allow the boat to sail backwards. This represents "backing over" the old name. Sailing backwards is hard -
requires a good breeze, some waves usually help, and a fair amount of skill. But the goddesses and gods that are concerned with these matters are not easy to impress! If the boat is a fin keel type with a separate rudder, you should be able to stabilize in backward mode and do it for at least a few boat lengths. For a full-keeler, the spirits will most likely be appeased with a half-boat length or so. Under no circumstance should you do this under power! If the boat is a powerboat, you will have bad luck with the new name until you have run aground three times. I don't know if these can be intentional groundings - perhaps someone with more experience in this area could clarify this.
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Old 03-08-2006
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Hi I'm also new to this site, in the UK most people i've spoken to seem to say its bad luck to change an existing boat name, we didn't with our last boat, saying that it is just superstition!!
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Old 03-22-2006
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Some believe it's bad luck to re-name a boat. Fortunately, there is a time-honoured method around this. First, obliterate all records of the boat's previous name. Literally throw out all logs, charts, receipts, key chains, life rings, and remove any name lettering from the boat itself. Often, it is cheaper and easier to keep the name and change the boat

You must notify the maritime authorities, insurance company, coastguard etc of the name change or you may never be allowed to come ashore in any port again – ever. The “Flying Dutchman” tale was a true story – in his case, he merely forgot to tell his wife. He actually came out of this well, as those who have been through a divorce will appreciate. Better to keep the boat and lose the spouse than the other way around.

There are many traditions associated with the naming ceremony. These include sailing backwards across the equator as you throw the nameplates and ship’s log overboard. For those not near the equator, perhaps a local ocean may be substituted, but remember, you have been warned. Regardless, you will need lots of (Real) champagne, several friends (if you have any), perhaps your family (optional) and some pets (dogs, cats, birds, horses etc) to create a convivial mood. A small quantity (a glass at most) must be tipped over the side as homage to King Neptune. Then be sure to consume the rest of the Champagne or risk bringing bad luck to the occasion (as distinct from the following day when you will probably crash the boat anyway) Be sure to shout the new boat name VERY LOUDLY and FREQUENTLY to each of the Cardinal points of the compass. This task is best performed in a crowded anchorage at or just before daylight

Cheers

Alanl, Sydney
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Old 03-22-2006
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We changed the name on 2 of our previous boats and always had trouble with them. Got stranded a number of times on Lake Michigan and had to be towed in twice. The first two times we limped in. When we bought our Catalina we vowed to not change her name and the name grew on us. We never had a bit of trouble. Then we sold her and now we have a 44' steel hull, never to change his name. Eventually the name grows on you. But if you just can't live with the name change it as soon as you take possession of her and follow the denaming/renaming rules very carefully. Just to be safe. Good luck!
Fair Winds!
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