Monday, 14 May 2012

Phase II: The Renaming Ceremony


Phase II:  Request for renaming

The delay between requesting that the old name be removed and that a new name be recorded is traditionally 24 hours, although several more modern sources, no doubt influenced by modern electronic communication methods, suggest that the two ceremonies may be carried out one after the other.  However, any of you who have tried to unsubscribe from a commercial email list know that you will keep getting those damn advertisements for at least 48 hours after you’ve made your request.  Proceed at your own peril.  In the very least, I would suggest using the depth finder to determine your depth and then estimate the time it would take for your metal tag or ashes to touch the bottom (another point in favour of the metal tag), then multiply by 2 to be safe.

Vigor’s Interdenominational Ceremony is a bit disappointing here, and simply adopts the traditional christening ceremony for any ship by standing on the bow and reciting “I name this ship [new name here] and may she bring fair winds and good fortune to all who sail on her” at which point a bottle of champagne (yes, another bottle) is broken over the bow.

While I can eventually resign myself to the idea of coughing up the 2nd bottle of champagne, after having spent quite a lot of time in the shipyard repairing dings in the gelcoat, I don’t like the idea of breaking the bottle over the bow.  I also feel that the ceremony suggested by Vigor is not equal to the request and may even offend.  To augment the gravitas of the situation, I have found the following ceremonial variant, which, while avoiding new dings in the gelcoat and adopting a more supplicant and grovelling tone, does, alas, require even more champagne.
“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 homage, we implore you in your graciousness to take unto your records and recollection this worthy vessel hereafter and for all time known as [speak new name here] 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.”
At this point, the Champagne is gently poured from west to east over the bow.  But before groaning about the loss of more champagne, there is a slight but appreciable variation at work here.  This variant says you may offer one glass for the master and one glass for the mate, then pour the rest over the bow as an offering to Neptune.  The downside, of course, is that you must now open up a third bottle to continue with the rest of the ceremony. 

The Renaming Ceremony, Phase II bonus round

Aeolus, ruler of the winds.
The remainder of the ceremony has the added advantage of once again appealing to the lesser gods and their minions, namely the gods of the wind, effectively allowing you to humbly back out of the ceremony in the same way you entered.
“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 vessel [speak the new name here] the benefits and pleasures of your bounty, ensuring us of your gentle ministration according to our needs.”
Now you face north and raise a glass of champagne while continuing:
“Great Boreas, exalted ruler of the North Wind, grant us permission to use your mighty powers in the pursuit of our lawful endeavours, ever sparing us the overwhelming scourge of your frigid breath.”
At this point, the champagne is flung into the air.  As you follow along the ceremony described below, you will realize that you are going to be doing this for each of the cardinal points, and, if there is any wind at all, one or more of these glasses of champagne flung into the air will inevitably be blown back in your face.  Just accept this as an added benediction and do not attempt to duck or you risk offending the gods.  Now face west with a newly charged glass:
“Great Zephyrus, exalted ruler of the West Wind, grant us permission to use your mighty powers in the pursuit of our lawful endeavours, ever sparing us the overwhelming scourge of your wild breath.”
Fling, reload, and turn east:
“Great Eurus, exalted ruler of the East Wind, grant us permission to use your mighty powers in the pursuit of our lawful endeavours, ever sparing us the overwhelming scourge of your mighty breath.”
And lastly, south:
“Great Notus, exalted ruler of the South Wind, grant us permission to use your mighty powers in the pursuit of our lawful endeavours, ever sparing us the overwhelming scourge of your scalding breath.”
The finish line is in sight and it only remains to back out of the ceremony humbly, forever burying the old name and sailing into the new one.  To do this, you must sail the boat into the wind, let her come to a complete stop, and then allow the boat to drift backwards for several meters.  Depending on the winds, tides, and how much champagne you’ve offered yourselves during the ceremony, this may be a rather delicate manoeuvre, so caution is required.

If you are Anglo-Saxon, your trials are over and you can sail forth without fear.  But any French reader of this missive will be indignant, asking “where is the wake cutting ceremony ?!”

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