As anyone who has owned a boat will tell you, naming your vessel is a serious business. There are rules, ceremonies and precise rituals to be consider, less your mishandling of the situation leads to your boat making a permanent mooring at the bottom of the sea.
The Feminine Touch, Curse
If legend is to be believed, women are an even complex proposition on the ocean then they are on dry land. It cannot have escaped your attention that the names ascribed to boats are either triumphant and vaguely abstract nouns or states of being (boats I have known:“Voyager” “Perfidious” “Challenger”) or have a decidedly womanly bent. It is rare that a seafarer encounters a boat named Gareth, is the point I am trying to put across and even if one does, despite its name, a ship is always affiliated with the female pronoun. Thar she blows, etc. There are a number of mooted reasons for the proliferation of lady-themed vessels and contrary to the cliché of the love-starved sailor, it is unlikely that the name is a sort of salve, a hint of the feminine on a long, lonely voyage. No, that kind of thinking is a little heteronormative in any case. Instead, it is argued, the yen for a female ship has probably more to do with the ancient practice of naming vessels after goddesses who, it is hoped, will bless the boat with their own particular storehouse of characteristics. A fishing ship named after Diana, the Roman goddess of hunting, would make a lot of sense, for instance. Furthermore, traditionalists will argue the feminine pronoun is probably a hangover from olde English, which, much like many European languages, ascribed a gender to certain nouns a tradition that has remained when it comes to the maritime.
Hm. Those arguments are unconvincing to me
Well, yeah. It does seem a little suspicious that it is only the seafaring world that has clung to the feminine noun. Also, when you consider the fact that the most traditional of captains, the ones that still subscribe to the superstition of the Old Ways, will still fervently insist that a woman onboard a ship is extraordinary bad luck, a sure ticket to shipwreck, it does seem that something problematic is going on. But instead of wasting our time hectoring centuries-old ingrained traditions, it is probably more useful to create some new ones. With this in mind, this is how to re-name your boat Gareth without enraging the Gods. You’ll be pleased to hear it involves some drinking and a nice get-together with friends.
STEP ONE: Determine your new name. Tell no-one. Under no circumstance must you bring anything with the new name across the threshold of your boat until the re-naming ceremony is done.
STEP TWO: Remove every mention of your boat’s old name from the vessel.
Grab your White-Out, your paintbrush, your paper shredder and get to work. To avoid terrible things happening, you need to erase the name from Poseidon’s Ledger. To erase the sea god’s memory you have to be thorough – make sure that every mention of the name is expunged. This includes paperwork and graffiti and lifejackets and everything. Nothing must remain.
STEP THREE: Prepare a metal plate and write the boat’s old name on it in water-soluble ink. Buy a bottle of good champagne. Don’t be stingy, we’re smashing the patriarchy here. Then, invite all your friends to the ceremony.
STEP FOUR: In front of everyone Purge the old name by invoking the mercy of Poseidon and dropping the sacrificial ingot (the metal plate) into the sea. Then, as a tribute, pour half the champagne in after it, moving from west to east.
STEP FIVE: Lastly, you need to appease the four gods of the winds. They’re brothers and you must address each one by name and fling a glass of champagne in their respective directions. There’s Boreas (north wind), Zephyrus (west), Eurus (east) and Sotus (south)
STEP SIX: Now is the time for the big reveal. You can proudly intone your vessel’s new name and re-paint to reflect as such. The Gareth is ready for adventure, in a traditionalist fashion. Bless all that sail in him.
Rita Haymarket is interested in all your used boats for sale, especially if they require a boozy re-naming ceremony. http://www.ybw-boatsforsale.com/
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