I just bought my first boat, a Catalina 25'' and it comes with a name that I really don''t like. I am looking for guidance as to any customs or traditions that I should hold true when and if I change it.
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 at 23:23:10:
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 seaneeds 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. Also, I understand and agree with your point about boats having a personality, but of course the original name did not have the benefit of those years of experience in naming the boat. Why not give the boat a name that captures its essence PLUS your relationship to it. This is why I am waiting to put my hew boat''s name on the transom until I am sure it fits. Of course, a name also has many practical advantages, as an aide in hailing, recognizing friends out cruising, etc.
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!
(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 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!
Posted by Carl Miller
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
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!
We too acquired a boat with a rather poor name which needed to be changed. After an appropriate period of contemplation and selection, Neptune was requested to approve the switch and to welcome the newly named vessel. Our request was accompanied by an adequate amount of Mount Gay Eclipse rum, delivered to Neptune directly overboard, all in proper form, of course, with reference to Aeolus, Borealis, etc. We feel this approach was quite effective since we proceeded to win most of the silver at the club that year, and have done well since without additional libations over the side.
Other postings suggest tequila, but IMHO that such an inherently land-based substance (it comes from CACTUS, after all - how far from the ocean can you go??!!?) may not be viewed in as positive a light as the traditional rum by the powers that be. (Or they may not be, but would we be having this discussion if we were sure?) Scotch (single malt, from some lonely rocky isle near Stornoway, if possible) may also work well. I would stay away from tequila. The bugs in it aren''t even weevils, so you won''t garner any credit from Neptune for them either.
Hello John, I will be brief after the manuscript from Jeff H !
Consider your seamanship skills more than your subconcious vibes. Loosing mast''s and hitting the rocks is more about awareness/experience this may sound flippant and indeed we are not party to Jeff''s actual circumstances.
In the UK we are equally circumspect of such changes the actuality is that if you are duly cautious and understand and respect the maritime environment you have no need for any concern about name changes.
By the way what''s the name you consder so distastful ?
The name that it currently has is "Windbag". In fact there is a airbrushed picture of a paper page(blown up as if to pop by hand) which has a face and a cloud of air coming out the end(Getting this off will be my next first challenge). It just isn''t the name to suit my personality.
One of the traditions in name changing is to keep the initials or part of the old name. For example, I once owned a boat that was named ''Miss Blitz'' when I bought her. I thought the name was a bit too ''Nazi'' sounding for my taste. I had decided to just call the boat, ''Miss B.'' which I did not see as a name change but simply an abbreviation. The trouble with the name ''Miss B.'' is that it had no meaning to me. I thought about it for a while and one day decided to add the name of my previous boat as a last name. My previous boat had been called ''Havn'' which is Scandinavian for a port of refuge (similar to the English word ''haven''.) The boat became ''Miss B. Havn'' and was a very lucky boat for me.
A funny story with that name came when I was getting the mortgage for my house and went to a loan officer. She had looked at my application and noticed that the only debt that I had was my boat loan. After going over everything she said,"This all looks fine especially the fact that you have no other debts."
Trying to be accurate, I said," Well, actually the only expenses that I have is ''Miss B. Havn''."
She responded, " I sure know what you mean!" She was a bit embarrassed when I explained that ''Miss B. Havn'' was the name of my boat.
In any event, boat names beginning with ''wind'' can be quite charming and are less like to carry bad karma.
If it IS unlucky to change the name of the boat (whether making the appropriate liquid donations - preconsumed or otherwise - to the relevant gods)... what happens when you buy a boat that has had its name changed before you - do you also buy it''s bad luck? Or would it not have survived long enough for you to buy it???
By the way... if you want the best Scotch whisky... it comes from the south west islands of Scotland (Islay), not near Stornoway... but NEVER make an UNPRECONSUMED libation of it to the gods... they''ll think you''re FAR too crazy and irresponsible to be out on the water with a boat and act accordingly!