For those who know me well, you may have been witness to my moments of superstition. Touching wood when necessary, not stepping on cracks, not walking under ladders. Most don’t know that this has extended into almost OCD-like behaviours from time to time, especially in moments of higher stress. Stu blames it on my Father’s Catholic upbringings (which he’s sure I absorbed, despite no specific teachings). I suspect it was just preparing me to be a really good sailor.

A quick google search will bring you to all sorts of sailor superstitions. While you don’t run into them as much these days, older salty sailors are often the ones who can be pretty particular about the things you can and cannot do while on a boat. Thankfully most will now permit women on board, but some still don’t take on bananas (there are good reasons for that, among them the fact bananas release ethene which causes ripening of other fruit), and most wouldn’t ‘step’ their mast (put it back up after it has been taken down) without placing a coin at its base.

Probably the tradition I’ve always been most familiar with is the bad luck that comes with changing the name of a boat…that is, unless the proper steps are followed.

In any event, the Canadian government has finally approved registration of our vessel and the (second) name we chose for her, so it was time to actually address what it meant to change her name. After extensive research, and some crowd-sourcing of information via the genius of Facebook groups, I tracked down an official ceremony for purging the old and ringing in the new.

On Saturday we invited some of our new boatyard friends to be (socially-distanced) witnesses, and we performed this official ceremony:

Then we drank all the champagne…some white wine, rum, mescal and a whole bottle of scotch to celebrate it. Sunday was slow. For those who couldn’t hear the video properly, here is the script:

“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 Sea Shifter 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. 

In grateful acknowledgment of your munificence and dispensation, we offer these libations to your majesty and your court.

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 Skookum V, 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 honor of your greatness, we offer these libations to your majesty and your court.

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.

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.
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.
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.
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.”

Long live Skookum V!