We had decided after 12 years to change our boat name, we needed something short, simple and easily understood over the VHF radio. The old name did not fit any of these requirements.
We previously had a company called ZigZag and decided on the name for the boat as we plan to ‘ZigZag’ from place to place.
There is a lot of tradition and superstition around changing a boat name and it is believed to be bad luck if not done correctly. The legend is that the god of the sea, Poseidon, keeps a list of all vessels that sail, motor, and cross his seas called the Ledger of the Deep. If you change the name of a vessel without consulting Poseidon, his list is no longer accurate. He feels duped. His wrath is invoked.
To appease him, you must perform two ceremonies—one boat name purging and one boat renaming—so Poseidon can wipe the old and add the new name to the Ledger of the Deep.
Not wanting to upset Poseidon, we armed ourselves with plenty of champagne (Apparently no cheap alternatives can be used) and performed the said ceremonies.
First the name purging ceremony, we had to remove all reference to the old name (which we are no longer allowed to say) and ask Poseidon to eradicate it from the ledger of the seas. This has to be done with offerings of champagne (and some for us). You also have to make a metal tag with the old name written in water soluble ink to be thrown from the bow into the sea.
Then comes the renaming ceremony, firstly to Poseidon with more offerings of champagne, (and some for us) to accept ZigZag as her name, to help her through her passages, and allow her to return with her crew safely.
Then you have to appease each of the four gods of the winds imploring them to grant us the pleasure of fair winds according to our needs. Champagne must be offered to each one separately poured to the north, west, east and south.
We then drank all the remaining champagne to celebrate.