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Superstitions: Renaming A Boat

Superstitions: Renaming A Boat

Sailors are among the most superstitious folks on the planet, so it’s no wonder renaming a boat is such a concern….

But there may be some truth to these particular superstitions…

On Renaming a Boat

Boats Have a Life – and a Mind of Their Own, Once Named and Christened

It’s that time of year – at least in the Northern Hemisphere – where folks are heading to their cottages and putting their boats in the water. It’s no surprise then, that we were asked for some insight and advice around the superstitions about renaming a boat. When we checked, we discovered there might be some validity to the beliefs, perhaps these are not superstitions but responses to real shifts in energy around the boat.

My friend Diana once explained that she would never name her car because it gave the vehicle too much life, it would begin to respond too much to her own ups and downs. Naming something, anything, serves to give it life, an energy of its own – and a mind of its own.

When a boat is named and christened, energetically, it has been enlivened, and from that point on must be treated with the same respect that we would a person.In addition to our usual list of superstitions around renaming a boat, here we have included some advice from our team of psychics about how to get around the problem. First the superstitions:

Interestingly, the only records of this superstition that we could find began just over a hundred years ago, with a mention in Stevenson’s book, Treasure Island:

1881 Stevenson, Treasure Island, He was hanged like a dog, and sun-dried like the rest, at Corso Castle. That was Roberts’ men, that was, and comed of changing names to their ships – Royal Fortune, and so on. Now what a ship was christened, so let her stay, I say.

1832 It was like this. Bill’s first wife were named Bertha, and this ‘ere boat were named Bertha – and quite right, too. But she died last year, and Bill married again – quite right too- but damned if ‘e don’t go and re-christen the boat Beatrice,’cause that were the name of ‘is fresh wife. It’s all wrong – agin. Providence – for ain’t it true that you must never rename a boat or a ship? ‘E tempted Providence, and e’s boat smashed.

1961 Sailors believe that it is unlucky to alter the name of the ship. Many tales are told of vessels which were lost after such a change. HMS Victoria which sank in a tragic accident in 1893 was one of these; so was HMS Cobra.

1980 Sea Captain’s wife… When we buy a boat, we never change her name – it’s very unlucky.

Advice from Our Psychics on Renaming a Boat

superstitions sailors and boatsAsk the Boat’s Permission, Check the Numbers, Get the Boat Involved, Use Vigor’s Denaming Ceremony

A Note from Victoria:

I have actually had experience with this one. Friends bought a sailboat just like ours it was a CT 37. It had been called the Knight of Swords. Although it had been identical in every way to ours it had the strangest cold feel to it. I just felt uneasy while in it or on it. They did change the name of it and sailed off to Hawaii. They thought the Tarot connection just too much to cope with. It was anchored off Hawaii when a freak storm came up and while they watched from shore with their dinghy it broke up as they watched. Lucky not to have been on board. Our sailboat was called Running Bare when we bought it but the name did not suit it. We changed the name to Sea Shaman and the boat is going strong 18 years later. Our boat never did have the feel of the other one. I also asked permission to change the name. I felt permission had been granted and we had the new name put on her. It is still there. I do not know the answer. Nor am I superstitious. I just believe that there once was a series of events with ships with changed names that were tragic and the legend was created. I can think of many ships that went down with original names.

I certainly asked permission of the powers that be and I felt I had been given permission to make the change. Hope this is helpful. Victoria

superstitions sailors and boatsAdvice from Maryanna and Danielle

Maryanna advises a numerological consultation: Changing the name of your boat could have an effect because with each letter in each name there is a different energy. In numerology, each letter means a different thing and when you add up all those numbers you get a specific vibration which then in a sense infuses the boat. Changing it would change the frequency of the boat which could cause it to become energetically confused and thereby attract what some would call “bad luck”, this might be especially true if the new name was out of alignment with the original frequency and birthdate of the boat. Some numbers are better than others, though I do not believe that any of them are BAD numbers. I would recommend that you do a numerological analysis of the old and new names before making a change.

Danielle advises some ritual: As Victoria suggests, I think it is essential to ask the boat’s permission before initiating any kind of renaming. Then, once you have “felt” the boat’s response, I would take this a step further and do a little ritual and ceremony to re christen the boat with it’s new name – give it a sense of joy and acceptance in this new name… and as Maryanna suggests, I would be careful to choose a name that was numerically aligned with it’s original birthdate and name… then choose a date to perform the ritual or ceremony that will numerologically and energetically support this change. You might even want to consult with an astrologer to choose the best time for the renaming.

A “Denaming” Ceremony submitted by Dr. Geri Webre:

Vigor’s Interdenominational Boat Denaming Ceremony

by John Vigor http://www.48north.com/aug97/denaming.htm

Due to an overwhelming number of requests for copies of John Vigor’s Interdenominational Boat Denaming Ceremony, we are rerunning it again. Now, take care to save this one!

I once knew a man in Florida who told me he’d owned 24 different yachts and renamed every single one of them.

“Did it bring you bad luck?” I asked.

“Not that I’m aware of,” he said. “You don’t believe in those old superstitions, do you?”

Well, yes. Matter of fact, I do. And I’m not alone. Actually, it’s not so much being superstitious as being v-e-r-y careful. It’s an essential part of good seamanship.

Some years ago, when I wanted to change the name of my newly purchased 31-foot sloop from Our Way to Freelance, I searched for a formal “denaming ceremony” to wipe the slate clean in preparation for the renaming. I read all the books, but I couldn’t find one. What I did learn, though, was that such a ceremony should consist of five parts: an invocation, an expression of gratitude, a supplication, a re-dedication and a libation. So I wrote my own short ceremony. Vigor’s inter-denominational denaming ceremony. It worked perfectly. Freelance carried me and my family many thousands of deep-sea miles both north and south of the equator, and we enjoyed good luck all the way. I used the same ceremony recently to change the name of my newly acquired Santana 22 from Zephyr to Tagati, a Zulu word that means “magic,” or “bewitched.” We’re hoping she’ll sail like a witch when I finally get her in the water this summer after an extensive refit.

I’ll give you the exact wording of Vigor’s denaming ceremony, but first you must remove all physical traces of the boat’s old name. Take the old log book ashore, along with any other papers that bear the old name. Check for offending books and charts with the name inscribed. Be ruthless. Sand away the old name from the life buoys, transom, top-side, dinghy, and oars. Yes, sand it away. Painting over is not good enough.

You’re dealing with gods here, you understand, not mere dumb mortals. If the old name is carved or etched, try to remove it or, at the very minimum, fill it with putty and then paint over. And don’t place the new name anywhere on the boat before the denaming ceremony is carried out. That’s just tempting fate.

How you conduct the ceremony depends entirely on you. If you’re the theatrical type, and enjoy appearing in public in your yacht club blazer and skipper’s cap, you can read it with flair on the foredeck before a gathering of distinguished guests. But if you find this whole business faintly silly and embarrassing, and only go along with it because you’re scared to death of what might happen if you don’t, you can skulk down below and mumble it on your own. That’s perfectly okay. The main thing is that you carry it out. The words must be spoken. I compromised by sitting in Tagati’s cockpit with the written-out ceremony folded into a newspaper, so that any passerby would think I was just reading the news to my wife, sitting opposite. Enough people think I’m nuts already. Even my wife has doubts. The last part of the ceremony, the libation, must be performed at the bow, just as it is in a naming ceremony. There are two things to watch out for here. Don’t use cheap-cheap champagne, and don’t try to keep any for yourself. Buy a second bottle if you want some. Use a brew that’s reasonably expensive, based on your ability to pay, and pour the whole lot on the boat. One of the things the gods of the sea despise most is meanness, so don’t try to do this bit on the cheap.

What sort of time period should elapse between this denaming ceremony and a new naming ceremony?

There’s no fixed time. You can do the renaming right after the denaming, if you want, but I personally would prefer to wait at least 24 hours to give any lingering demons a chance to clear out. (Scroll down for the wording of the ceremony.)

Afterwards

Now you can pop the cork, shake the bottle and spray the whole of the contents on the bow. When that’s done, you can quietly go below and enjoy the other bottle yourself. Incidentally, I had word from a friend last month that the Florida yachtsman I mentioned earlier had lost his latest boat, a 22-foot trailer-sailer. Sailed her into an overhead power line. Fried her. She burned to the waterline. Bad luck? Not exactly. He and his crew escaped unhurt. He was just very careless. He renamed her, as usual, without bothering to perform Vigor’s famous interdenominational denaming ceremony. And this time, at long last, he got what he deserved.

Vigor’s 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.”

After 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.”

John Vigor, refer to: http://www.48north.com/aug97/denaming.htm, an Oak Harbor resident, is a boating writer and editor. He is the author of the following books:

Danger, Dolphins & Ginger Beer (Simon & Schuster) a sailing adventure novel for 8 to 12 year-olds.
The Practical Mariner’s Book of Knowledge (International Marine)
The Sailor’s Assistant (International marine)
For publication in 1999:
The Seaworthy Offshore Sailboat (International Marine)
20 Small Sailboats to Take You Anywhere (Paradise Cay)

More Superstitions about Boats

I was visiting your site because I am buying a boat with a name that I would like to change. A person I work with asked me if I was superstitious and I told him, “ABSOLUTELY!”

I was raised around boats and there are thing that are done and things that are not done. Most have been covered but here are the ones that I live buy.

Never name your boat for your wife…… She will win it in the divorce.
Never name your boat for your kids, something bad will happen to them on the water.

I was told from a little sailor on that when you give your boat a name, she (boat are always SHE) should NEVER be named a made up “cutesy” name, a profaine name or after someone who’s alive. All my boats have been named for my sister who died long ago. She loved the water and taught me to love it, too. I ask her to look after all that sail on my boats, for fair winds and following seas.

The strangest superstition I have regards the luck or lack of it when fishing by certain products brought on board. I never drink beer or booze on my boat, but that, isn’t the weird one. I NEVER, EVER, allow someone to drink products by Coca-cola when we are fishing.

For some strange reason, when I was fishing with certain people, we never caught fish. I always thought it was because THEY were bad luck. Then one day, Shaun, a guy I work with, came along at the last minute. He didn’t have any drinks in his cooler. I told him not to worry about it, I had plenty. WHAM, we start catching fish left and right.

From then on, I watched what people drank on my boat. I could never catch fish with Coke products on my boats. From that day on, I search coolers before they come on the boat for anything made by Coke.

The other strange part is I have on purpose drank Coke on friends boats…… never a problem.

People who listen to me on the marine radio knows when RENEE HOPE starts catching fish, we haven’t “thrown the skunk out of the fish box”, we’ve “thrown the last can of COKE overboard”!

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Sailing on Fridays

I enjoyed your info about renaming boats, I am curious if there is a superstition in regard to leaving on a sailing voyage on a Friday, verses any other day, if you know and can get back to me I would be grateful, thanks Wynn

You’ll find a note following from Victoria , and this is what I found in our book on superstitions:

“A voyage begun on a Friday is sure to be an unfortunate one.” and ” The fishermen say: “A Friday’s sail, Always fail”.

So, if you are superstitious, I might choose to wait until Saturday…. or leave on Thurs night… Lotsa LLLove, Danielle

I have heard that a Friday Morning departure can be disastrous. But that was for a long journey only not for short trips. I also have to tell you that we did own a sailboat and did change its name and it was fine. Another couple who owned the same model sail boat did not change it’s name and it broke up in Hawaii . I think if you believe in some of those tales they do happen. Victoria

Renaming a House

On your web site you have an article about Renaming a Boat, does the same superstition hold for renaming a house? Is there something that we should do before we change it’s name? Thanks for any help you can give. With my kindest regards, Alison Cutler.

Yes, there are a few things I believe, just as in renaming a boat, that help the house shift its energy… over time homes tend to develop an energy of their own, especially once they have been named, so it is always advisable to respect this and communicate with the house about the upcoming change. At the very least, I would recommend a good cleaning – washing floors, walls and windows, inside and out, what folks typically call a”spring cleaning” as the first step in the ritual… this clears the house of the old energy and helps you to set up for the new… planting a new tree or garden is also a good way of signifying the change, as is redecorating, especially of the entrance ways… and of course doing some formal ritual as you hang up the new name plate somewhere… if you haven’t checked out the name numerologically, I would also recommend this…

BTW, while there are formal rituals always available for these things, it can be fun and just as effective to create your own ritual for the occasion… for a house, you want to use the elements of earth and water in the ritual… and to keep things balanced, you may want a little fire and air… consult with the house, ask it what it thinks of the idea and its new name and how it would like to have the ritual conducted… you might be surprised at the response… I had a house come after me to give me a hug once soon after it had changed hands, so I know they have a spirit of their own… I think this will give you a good starting point. Lotsa LLLove, Danielle

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