This past weekend, we took the boat to Cayo Costa for the holiday weekend (Labor Day). Randy and I had been wanting to have a christening ceremony for our trawler, and figured this weekend was as good as any. My parents, who also recently bought a trawler, had renamed their boat as well, so we decided this would be a joint ceremony for both of our boats. For those not familiar to a christening, or naming, ceremony, this is actually an official naming (or renaming) ceremony for a boat, ship or other vessel. According to pirate (and Greek/Roman/Egyptian) legend, these ceremonies were performed to bring good luck to the ship and those who sailed on it. A fluid such as wine or champagne was poured over the bow and hull to appease King Neptune for good luck and a safe voyage.
Since Randy and I decided to change the name of our trawler from Down Time to Blue Turtle we decided that we wanted to have a semi-formal renaming ceremony. Neither of us are really very superstitious, but we figured we needed all the help we could get from King Neptune. I mean, why tempted the god of the sea…and why not have a party in Blue Turtle’s honor? So I started searching for how one goes about christening a boat and I found several different articles about ceremonies. Some were vigilant about removing the old boat name down to every maintenance record and sanding/painting over the old name wherever it may be. Others were more like, ‘invite a bunch of friends, drink some wine and pour some on the boat’. We opted for something in between. We had already removed the old name from the stern and replaced it with the new and I began the tedious process of stripping our name boards down and adding new vinyl letters and varnish—this, by-the-way was NOT as easy I thought it would be and I’m hoping to be able to post the finished product soon.
After some searching, I found this post at 48north.com that includes a denaming ceremony and christening ceremony. So, I had the verbiage and all we needed was a couple bottles of champagne (1 for the boats and 1 for us to drink) and we were ready to go. Saturday afternoon of our Labor Day weekend while we were enjoying happy hour hors d’oeuvres and drinks, we invited our friends who were with us to join us on the bow of our trawler. Since Randy is the captain of our vessel, he was the one who read the denaming and renaming passages. He started with the denaming:
“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 Down Time, 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 this was read a few cheers and toasts went up.
Then it was time for the christening part:
“I name this ship Blue Turtle and may she bring fair winds and good fortune to all who sail on her [insert special dramatic voice].”
After that, he poured half a bottle of champagne onto Blue Turtle’s bow and hull, saving the other half for Island Time’s ceremony immediately after ours. (my parent’s boat). Everyone toasted champagne, wine or whatever they were drinking at the time and said a few cheers. Randy, Corey and I want to thank those friends that were with us for this special time: Capt. Steve and Regina (Dad and Mom), Capt. Nick and Holly, Mike and Sally, Tracy, Jack and Ryan, Rob and Reef. Thanks you for being there and making this day special for us.