Every sailor can tell you it’s bad luck to rename a boat.
The trick is to appease the Gods of the sea and the winds with a re-naming ceremony, and basically getting them drunk so they forget the old name!
The ingredients are simple. Here’s what you’ll need:
+ Remove any mention of the old name by physically removing every trace of it
+ A metal tag with the old name written on it in water-soluble ink.
+ Three bottles of quality champagne – in our case, Mumm
+ Glasses for the master and the mate (other guests are optional)
So, with less than a month left ahead of eXXpedition Round the World departure, we headed down to Sutton Harbour Marina, who have been hosting us in Plymouth ahead of our departure, to meet our gold sponsors Travel Edge and unveil the new name of this ship that will be the home, the transport and the lab for over 300 women sailing around the world during the next two years to carry out solutions-based research on plastic pollution in four accumulation zones and the Arctic.
The ceremony starts with a “Boat Name Purging Ceremony,” beginning by invoking the name of the ruler of the deep:
“Oh mighty a
nd great ruler of the seas and oceans, to whom all ships and we who venture upon your vast domain are required to pay homage, implore you in your graciousness to expunge for all time from your records and recollection the name Sailing Vessel Discovery which has ceased to be an entity in your kingdom. As proof thereof, we submit this ingot bearing her name to be corrupted through your powers and forever be purged from the sea.”
Towards the end of this point, the prepared metal tag with the name of the old boat is dropped from the bow of the boat into the sea.
Next is a blessing:
“In grateful acknowledgment of your munificence and dispensation, we offer these libations to your majesty and your court.”
At this point, the first bottle of champagne is opened, and at least half of it is poured into the sea from East to West. The rest of the bottle can be passed amongst the guests and enjoyed together.
Then begins the official boat renaming ceremony, revealing the new name of the eXXpedition ship:
“Oh mighty and great ruler of the seas and oceans, to whom all ships and we who venture upon your vast domain are required to pay homag
e, implore you in your graciousness to take unto your records and recollection this worthy sailing vessel hereafter and for all time known as Sailing Vessel TravelEdge guarding her with your mighty arm and trident and ensuring her of safe and rapid passage throughout her journeys within your realm.
In appreciation of your munificence, dispensation and in honour of your greatness, we offer these libations to your majesty and your court.”
Now the second bottle of champagne is opened up and its entirety – sparing a glass for the master, our eXXpedition co-founder Emily Penn and one for the mate, our skipper, Anna Strang, is poured into the sea from West to East.
After appeasing the God of the sea with our libations, we open up the third and final bottle of champagne and move on to the Gods of the wind, asking them for their permission to use their powers in pursuit of our mission.
“Oh mighty rulers of the winds, through whose power our frail vessels traverse the wild and faceless deep, we implore you to grant this worthy sailing vessel TravelEdge the benefits and pleasures of your bounty, ensuring us of your gentle ministration according to our needs as we sail our eXXpedition great voyage round the world and beyond.”
As you address each of the Gods directly, you must face in their direction, pour a generous serving of champagne into a champagne flute, and flick it in their direction.
Starting with the North:
“Great Boreas, exalted ruler of the North Wind, grant us permission to use your mighty powers in the pursuit of our lawful endeavors, ever sparing us the overwhelming scourge of y
our frigid breath.”
Then the West:
“Great Zephyrus, exalted ruler of the West Wind, grant us permission to use your mighty powers in the pursuit of our lawful endeavors, ever sparing us the overwhelming scourge of your wild breath.”
Then the East – this is where the guest are at risk of getting showered in champagne!
“Great Eurus, exalted ruler of the East Wind, grant us permission to use your mighty powers in the pursuit of our lawful endeavors, ever sparing us the overwhelming scourge of your mighty breath.”
And finally, the South:
“Great Notus, exalted ruler of the South Wind, grant us permission to use your mighty powers in the pursuit of our lawful endeavors, ever sparing us the overwhelming scourge of your scalding breath.”
And that’s a wrap! The eXXpedition boat is in the water and officially named and known as Sailing Vessel TravelEdge!
Beyond appeasing the Gods of the sea and the winds, it also seems like the God of the sun gave us their blessing with some amazing weather during our ceremony. It was an honour to have our partners Maddie Emberson and Michelle Leal from Travel Edge in person to celebrate such a wonderful tradition before we embark on our mission, and we cannot wait to see what adventures and discoveries await us.
Watch a recap of our eXXpedition boat renaming ceremony below.
All photos courtesy of our brilliant deckhand and photographer, Sophie Dingwall.