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-   -   Any Superstition Against Renaming A Sailboat? (

Popo 09-05-2007 10:25 AM

Well now, I own a lovely old 31-foot Cheoy Lee Bermuda ketch (Offshore 31) and I've been restoring her every second summer... She's almost ready to go, (if she hasn't been stolen from her perch yet - as I am not at home to babysit her this year...)

Anyway, I have a question, about her name... I don't know who knows the most about this topic; however, I'm stumped, and seek the advice of anyone with real knowledge of the issue...

A touch of background color: I purchased the boat from a retired high school principal, for about 3,000 dollars (U.S.) and realized, immediately, that I wouldn't be going very far with her until I gave her a thorough refit... When I took possession of the sweet lass, though sullied and worn and ashamed of herself for seeming so faded, it wasn't long before she was washed up and started to resemble the days of her former youth, when she was a full-hipped starling amongst the larger ladies...

But then I noticed her name! And it was her name that "got" me... On the Washington state licence paper, her name was written all too clearly: Good Fortune... Well, the name felt "good" at first, but then, just plain and predictable somehow...

Now, I am wondering -- I want to change her name to porchid... (I don't know if you can get the pun, it doesn't matter to me...)

But what matters is the issue of changing her name... If you change the name of a sailboat, someone told me once that it is "Bad Luck"... But who says so? And why, or how could it be bad luck?

Is it okay to go ahead and paint her new name, porchid on her prow and tail?

Any opinion, sincere or droll, would be most appreciated by this eager beaver!

...good>/smile.gif .. or, bad>/sleep.gif ?



Auzzee 09-05-2007 12:28 PM

I will search the archives for this topic as I am sure we have somewhere, the ritual for changing names and comments regarding the superstitions surrounding the 'evil deed'.



Harbor_Pilot 09-05-2007 03:02 PM

Hi PoPo,

I found an early discussion on this topic, Here.


But what matters is the issue of changing her name... If you change the name of a sailboat, someone told me once that it is "Bad Luck"... But who says so? And why, or how could it be bad luck?
You raise good points. I doubt there is any factual basis to the superstition. Having written that, likely somebody will try to prove me wrong. I think superstitions are only applicable to those whom believe them to be true.

If I had a boat that I disliked it's name, or preferred another name, I would rename it and not dwell on it. On the other hand, if someone struggles with, or looses sleep over re-naming a vessel, perhaps it is best to leave it alone. A main point of having a boat is supposed to be pleasure, or fun more often than not.


Footprints 09-09-2007 01:28 PM

Hi PoPo

I have never re-named a boat, however I have been involved in a couple.

The cleverest was instead of changing the name, we just called/used the same name in a different language. That way we were not changing the boats name..... just writing it in a different language... one to our taste...... we felt this way we would not anger the Gods.

Not too sure if the gods allow that in the rules..... but if it makes any difference we never won a race before or after we changed...amended... the name.

Another way that I have heard of is by John Vigor and required a little more work..... a couple of weekends worth. It goes something like this:

Remove all reference to the boats name from the vessel..... plates, plaques, pictures of the boat, log books, guest books and even the name from the boat itself....including the tender, but you can't just paint over it, you have to sand/grind/peel it away.

Once all that is done leave it a few days or even a week and then re dedicate it with the name along with ample amounts of alcohol (ie the whole bottle).... for use on the boat....


imagine2frolic 09-26-2007 06:23 PM

I heard that tender young virgins were to be sacrificed, Being that Imagine is a catamaran I was hard pressed to find 2. I just changed the name anyway, and have not had any bad luck at all. Of course I don't believe in sea monsters either...LOLOLOL

Ibrahim 10-04-2007 10:55 AM

The superstition of renaming a vessel is just that, a superstition. We Muslims rename boats all the time and DO NOT suffer any negative fates or mishaps because of our actions of renaming a boat. We even sail out on Fridays; because in Islam we are encouraged to start off on journeys on Friday.

Superstitions such as renaming boats, the no-no of starting a sailing journey on Fridays, never reclaim what fell overboard into the ocean, etc... Are simply cultural based and not shared by everyone. If you believe in the superstitions of the ocean and a mishap happens you are more then likely to associate the mishap to renaming your vessel or what not. And not take into account the actual cause and effect of the mishap. Just keep in mind many many people rename their vessels and don't suffer mishaps because of renaming a vessel.

MMNETSEA 10-04-2007 11:34 AM

Thanks Ibrahim ,

As you say superstitions are superstitions - true !

However, sailors whatever culture they come from adhere very strongly to their beliefs - the environment in which they survive is a cruel environment - necessitating calls to their gods to protect them and wish them luck - renaming a boat is therefore a minor matter.

On this forum we enjoy a fraternity free of one culture's beliefs over that of another.

(As my ancestral beings were those that believed that if salt was split on the table, then a pinch of that salt had to be thrown over the left shoulder - failure to do so would result in something BAD! I am still here intact !)


muz 10-08-2007 08:00 AM

I've renamed one boat with no ill effects other than those I could usually attribute to operator (me) error:blush: . We had a small ceremony involving pouring champagne over the bow after a fairly extensive refit. It was a case of a bit for the boat and quite a bit for us.(back at the mooring of course)

I really couldn't live with the previous owners naming idea and changing it was popular with most. Now ,I'm not usually superstitious but the ceremony just seemed like the right thing to do and ,with the refit, kind of signalled the start of a new life for her.


Seeratlas 11-06-2007 07:11 PM

Bilge Water, It's Bunk, its all BUNK!!!..

Now, here's what you do...

FIRST you get a chicken..............

hmm no wait, that's Haiti....

ok here, I remember...>/smile.gif

Since you've already gone dreamy eyed...and got this vision of oriental 31' swiveling hips thing going (did you mean to say starlet as opposed to "starling'? ) i would suggest that you take NO chances and ensure that as with most females, before you change ANYTHING, you figure out the proper pacification ritual>/smile.gif hehehehe. This can be as simple as a candlelight dinner on deck...some new shiny piece of equipment er uh *jewelry*....and perhaps the proper beverage...(some new 30wt for warming up the engine.>/smile.gif... you get my drift here....Then most politely , print out the present name on a suitably sized piece of cardboard, do a low bow facing the boat and then throw the cardboard as high as you can up into the air...and if she wants to keep the name, she'll keep it,,, but if it falls back down, you're free to change it>/smile.gif

good luck.

and if you do a really good job, sometime when she's rail down and you're asleep in your berth when she changes her mind and decides to switch tacks, maybe she won't throw you completely across the salon>/smile.gif


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