Cascadia Burgee


Ralph' Really Right Renaming Regimen

Submitted by: Katysails

My good friend, Ralph, wrote this for just such an occasion. It has appeared on the Catalina list on Sailnet and also in the Yacht-L list and the AOL archives. It is copywrited and I do have permission to use it. This subject has caused much derision and division amongst sailors for years. But one only has to look around and see boats that have had many name changes and still are afloat and serving their masters well. Do not fear change if you see fit. Some say that only wooden boats have a soul and therefore must never have name changes, well that is not true. Oh sure lots of horror stories about it. And anyone can tell ghost stories but this long message may shed some light on the subject. I have done some research .

The boat has been seen as a religious as well as a utilitarian icon, with and without a soul. In the beginning "blessing" a ship was not for the soul of the boat but for the souls of those who were going to be aboard for long voyages. Early mariners were much more fearful of the gods for themselves rather than of the boat. Some cultures (both in the Orient and the Mediterranean) painted eyes on the boat to ward off evil gods trying to make the boat "appear" as alive. Boats were not given souls until quite late in the sea travels of man. Boats were made of straw also hides as well as wood, and sacrifices were done. Again the hope was to protect the sailor from the unhappy gods. By the way referring to a ship as "she" comes quite late in boating history, in fact it may be the introduction of the idea of a "soul." After all a man at sea for a very long time may want the companionship of a good (or bad) woman. He couldn't blame the captain for his troubles but he could blame the woman. :-) In these years, ships of iron, aluminum, ferrocement and laminates of glass, carbon fiber, Kevlar and who knows what, will be on the waters of the world. I think the sailors who sail in those beautiful boats would want the gods to send "kindly" seas and winds as did the later mariners. Having said all that, just go and have fun and rename your boat. It's fun to gather family and friends around the boat, that you may have pride in, for a joyous ceremony. A splash of wine (Red Wine please) and some laughing will surely please both the gods and the wooden OR plastic soul of the vessel. :-)

Ralph's Really Right Renaming Regimen

!!!!! Please note ** If you have religious convictions about using Greek god in the ceremony please feel free to substitute 'Lord or God "in place of them in the "Denaming plea" and the Poem "To Appease the Spirits of the Seas"

First: You must DE-name: Example; Bless the former name and allow that name to go to the everlasting sea. ( A simple thanks for it's former service and a good-bye to.... "Old name here"..... should do.) Also remove all traces of the original name.

Second: You must establish the new name - Now here comes the fun part !!

1ST method ----You must pour very good red wine (RED wine, NOT bubbly) see below; on the bow and offer some to the god Poseidon (Neptune) pouring the wine into the waters of the Home Port, saying out loud the new name, asking Poseidon to bless the boat and all who ride within. If it is a sailboat, don't forget Aeolus, the god of winds. Both gods blessings required. Also, the Captain(owner), crew and guests should sip the wine as well (spill and intake quantity is not limited ! The gods like generosity ! )

2nd method ---- After de-naming : Scuttle the boat out of sight of land -re float and rename - not many of us can do that one ! ( at least not on purpose) :-)

3rd method ---- -- Have a Virgin urinate on the bow while renaming the boat and asking Poseidon's blessing -- The major problem here is ahhhhhh -- Well, I'll let you work on that one.

I used method 1 and 3 ( a friend has a baby girl). By the way, all the methods have REAL historical backgrounds, Such as :

Red wine is the wine to spill , it symbolizes the blood of a virgin (yep, they used to sacrifice a virgin and spill the blood on the boat). In later history the blood of captured enemies or slaves was used. Urine has a history that is almost as fascinating. In some cultures leather was used to cover boats and urine helped tan the leather. The moon was most often considered female and urine and monthly cycles had connection with blood. Urine was also used to "wash" away old things and to clean wounds. Since boats were thought to have souls, when captured, the soul needed to have the old wounds washed away and re named to reflect the new owners culture.

Champagne is a very "new" invention and was not used until the 19th century. When christening a NEW ship it may have symbolized baptismal water, which is still used by some christening ceremonies. By the way the word "christening" should be a consideration when renaming. Not a religious thing but you really are not christening a new boat when renaming. It is possible some folks might feel it not appropriate to use Greek and Roman gods to bless a "Christ-ening"

Lots of wild, weird, whacky and wonderful myths float around these lumps that have rags hanging from sticks and that displace a pile of water !

During the De-Naming - Renaming ceremony ( which ever one you choose ) Please feel free to include the De-naming words or the Poem (Ode) the sea and wind gods called " To Appease the Spirits of the Seas " both of which I wrote......................


I bid hail !! Aeolus and Poseidon !
And seek your benefaction upon this vessel ,
May the name she carried before, be gone as the winds of yore,
Having served the former master with honor.
I now, with deep respect, petition you royal beings ,
To give this vessel's new hailing and her next voyages, your kindnesses.

Be it known by one and all! This vessel, from this day, will be hailed
as, " name......." !

I further offer the following plea ..............


Aeolus, whose mighty hand doth charge the wind,
To this vessel gentle zephyrs send,
And we who sail within will bend
Our heads in tribute, Never end.

With breath from high that maketh heaven's breeze,
To cause we sailors joy , or fear, upon the seas.
We call upon you Aeolus, please -
grant this ship and its' mortal ease.

O! Poseidon, you spirit god of waters great and small,
On this vessel, by your grace, allow these sons and daughters all,
to pass from port of hailing to their port of call,
And on these sailing subjects make your gentle blessings fall.

You who cause the seas to rage or lie in sweet repose,
Please list' to we mariners here, your servants of the flows.
This ship, the captain, crew and all of those -
Who love the wind and seas - will follow where thee goes

Ralph E. Ahseln
(C) April 1996
Gresham OR
Oblio isMe


"And we go, following the rhythms of the waves,
Rocking our infinity on the finite seas;" Charles Baudelaire