Changing the name of your yacht is an important decision to make, one that was typically avoided in history. According to legend, just changing the yacht’s name in your records and on your vessel could result in a cursed yacht with problem after problem. To avoid any streaks of bad luck, we recommend you appease the sea and wind gods by following the proper renaming ceremony!
Why Should I Consider Changing my Charter Yacht’s Name?
When you first began to think about turning your boat into a charter yacht, you probably had a concept in your mind—a way you wanted your guests to feel onboard. The yacht’s name becomes a form of branding that solidifies a first impression. With all the work you’ve put into transforming your yacht into a charter vacation business, the name is a paramount aspect to consider.
Is the current name of the boat something that will automatically appeal to potential guests? Boat names like Bella Vita, Starlight, and More Amore immediately evoke the bliss of the charter experience and generate good feelings in the potential charterer.
Turning a Boat into a Profitable Charter Yacht—A LOT Is in the Name!
Often a boat that has been previously owned and not part of the charter market is named according to the whim of the previous owner and not with an idea towards marketing appeal. Such was the case with Mr. Tom, the 46 Leopard Catamaran we highlighted in the previous video.
While the name Mr. Tom probably meant something to its previous owner, it really does not inspire positive ideas about charter vacations aboard. If you were given a choice for your sailing vacation in the Caribbean between catamarans Magic Inspiration, Love Boat, or Mr. Tom – without seeing any of them – which one would you choose?
Because this name will conceptualize your charter yacht business consider choosing a name that evokes a feeling and idea of vacationing that will appeal to potential charter guests. Avoid tacky names or inappropriate names that might offend guests or bring negative images to mind, i.e: Titanic, Booty Call,” etc.
Branding even extends to the colors onboard your yacht: the linens, dishware, and upholstery. For instance, if you name your boat Tropical Paradise, immediately greens and bright colors come to mind. Guests may expect these colors to be used throughout the yacht, even if they are just used for accent. Because color schemes can be costly to change, we recommend working on the interior renovation and name for your new charter yacht in tandem.
Choosing the Name Island R&R
The owner of Mr. Tom immediately recognized the need to change the name of his Leopard 46 and he chose a terrific new name: Island R&R. The new name not only conjures the dream of relaxing in the Caribbean aboard a crewed charter yacht, it incorporates the initials of the owner and his wife’s first names. So, it’s fun and it also has meaning for the owner.
Why You NEED to Perform a Ceremony for Renaming a Boat
Sailors (next to major league baseball pitchers) are probably the most superstitious people in the world, and they consider renaming a vessel to be one of the most portentous and risky endeavors for a new boat owner.
This superstition can be traced back to the Romans and Greeks, and much of the traditional ceremony for renaming a boat comes from their ancient worship of sea and wind gods and goddesses. According to their beliefs, the deities of the sea were aware of each vessel upon the ocean and the gods could bless the ships with fair winds and good sailing when they felt properly acknowledged by the captain and crew.
However, the sea deities could also cause trouble for ships that did not credit them accordingly. Ignoring the sea gods could invite their wrath and bring continuous bad fortune upon the boat and its crew!
Thankfully, there is a rite involved with clear steps for the new boat owner to follow to avoid any bad luck. The ceremony includes plenty of good champagne, so it is also a great excuse to throw a party aboard your new charter yacht!
Before you begin, you will need to gather some materials for the renaming ceremony and prepare the yacht for its new name. Removing the old name is the first step and important to ensuring that the gods and goddesses and even the yacht itself does not become confused about the name.
Step 1. Removing the Old Name
According to legend, all of the vessel names in the world are kept in a ledger in the deepest part of the ocean overseen by Neptune and Poseidon (the Roman and Greek gods of the seas). Before a yacht can be renamed, the old name must be removed from that ledger.
To accomplish this, the skipper must first eradicate the old name from the boat. Peeling off the old name and refinishing the hull where the old name appeared is not enough! Every document and scrap of paper that makes reference to the old boat name must be removed from the boat as well. And don’t forget the life rings or the boat keys, either! Once all traces of the old name are gone, the new name may be brought aboard after the naming ceremony is completed.
Step 2. Purchase lots of Champagne!
With Neptune’s Ledger expunged of the previous name, it is time to announce the new name to the gods of the sea and wind and appeal to their favor. As it is with many a fickle overseer, sometimes all it takes is some good wine to soften them up before you ask permission to do something! Keep in mind that the gods like good wine and they will notice if you cheap out on them! Do not incur their wrath with Two Buck Chuck wine from the sale bin! This ceremony is the time for high-quality Champagne, so don’t get queasy when it’s time to pour it over the side for the gods.
In ancient times, the blood of a virgin was sacrificed instead of wine, and urine was used to clean the old wounds to the boat’s soul. Nowadays, sailors find it easier to use red wine and champagne, instead!
Step 3. Renaming Ceremony and Christening
Items You Will Need:
- Red Wine/ Champagne
- Metal Tag with the Old Name Written with Water-soluble Ink
- Ship’s Bell
- Silver Dollar
- Food for Guests (not required, but highly suggested)
Now that you have high-quality wine and have removed all traces of the old name, it is time to perform the ceremony! During the renaming ceremony, you will complete the purging process by asking the gods of the sea to remove the name from their records and then accept the new name as a sign of good favor. Following that, you’ll ask for favor from the wind and sea gods to bless the vessel while sailing—providing libation to each god. To conclude the ceremony, you will perform a ‘christening.’ In a renaming ceremony, you don’t actually christen the boat but rather place a symbol of good luck on the vessel and promise to look after it.
PURGING AND RENAMING CEREMONY
With friends gathered, the old name completely removed from the boat except for a small metal tag with the name written in non-permanent ink, the renaming ceremony can begin. The purging ceremony can take place before the party or can be a part of the renaming evening festivities.
Step One: Invocation and Expression of Gratitude
Grab everyone’s attention by ringing the ship’s bell and announcing the ceremony is starting. Before diving into the processes, the ceremony should begin by invoking the ancient gods of the wind and sea.
In the name of all who have sailed aboard this vessel…we invoke the ancient Gods of wind, Aeolus, and the sea, Neptune, also hailed as Poseidon, to favor us with their blessing today.
Next express your gratitude to both gods, as they are the “King of all that moves in or on the waves” and “guardian of the winds and all that blows before them.”
Remove the Old Name from Neptune’s Ledger
Now you can begin the de-naming portion of the ceremony. Standing on the bow the new owner or crew must call out to the God of the sea as follows:
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, implore you in your graciousness to expunge for all time from your records and recollection the name (here insert the old name of your vessel) 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.
At this point, you’ll stand at the bow and drop the metal tag with the old name written on it into the sea. You will then submit a supplication to the gods that the old name “be struck and removed from your records and archives.”
You will bring the de-naming and supplication to a close by offering a libation.
In grateful acknowledgment of your munificence and dispensation, we offer these libations to your majesty and your court.
You or the crew must pour at least half of the bottle of Champagne into the sea from East to West. The remainder may be passed among the guests.
Rededication & Re-Naming
Now you can call out to Neptune or Poseidon again, and rededicate the ship under his domain.
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, implore you in your graciousness to take unto your records and recollection this worthy vessel hereafter and for all time known as (new name), guarding her with your mighty arm and trident and ensuring her of safe and rapid passage throughout her journeys within your realm.
Seal the pact with a libation by drawing attention the libation you offered and provide another libation if needed.
Sailing requires favorable winds along with seas. The gods of the winds must be invoked to make sure that the newly named boat is recognized and favored. The four winds are brothers and must be called individually by name. Standing upon the bow, the new owner or crew calls out:
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 (Insert your boat’s new name) the benefits and pleasures of your bounty, ensuring us of your gentle ministration according to our needs.
Facing North, crews must pour a generous libation of Champagne into a Champagne flute and fling to the North and intone:
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 your frigid breath.
Facing West, the same amount of Champagne is poured and flung to the West while the crew intones:
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.
Facing East, (crew repeats Champagne pouring and flings to the East)
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.
Facing South, (crew repeats Champagne pour flinging to 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.
Christening for Renaming a Boat
The christening portion of a renaming ceremony is an opportunity to place a good luck charm on your ship and toast to the new crew and captain. Unlike a typical christening, it is not necessary to crack a bottle of champagne on the hull.
It is usually recommended to begin this portion with a song as a serenade—however again this is not a required action for performing the ceremony. If you choose to play a song, you will perform that first and then ‘re-name’ the ship again recording the date and name.
Next, you will toast to the captain, the first mate, and the new name. Afterwards, you can proceed with placing a silver dollar under the mast, or in another safe location. Take care to place the silver dollar somewhere where it cannot be lost or stolen as this is an important symbol of good luck for the boat.
Next, we will place a silver dollar under the mast as a good luck charm, and as a symbol of generosity to this vessel, to show her that we will care for her and attend to her every need and desire.
Finally, make sure to toast to all the attending guests who have participated with you in this renaming ceremony.
Finish with a Party!
With permission requested from the gods of the seas and winds and Champagne shared with them to garner their favor, the naming ceremony is complete. The remaining wine should be used to toast the new boat name with the guests. The Gods appreciate a good party in their honor, so turn up the tunes and have fun! Now the new name can be brought on board, and the boat is one step closer to becoming a successful charter yacht.
If you are interested in turning your yacht into a luxury yacht charter business contact iYachtClub to find expert advice, proven yacht management experience, and honest guidance and support. We can help you get your charter business started and then optimize its success. We love to help people turn their charter yacht dreams into reality! Let’s get started!