Appeasing Poseidon

I moved my boat to another marina on Feb. 27. The marina I was at only allows live-aboards for 30 days, so I found another place and hired an instructor to help me get there on the Intracoastal waterway. The Intracoastal waterway is a narrow channel that runs from Key West to Maine. It is popular with recreational boaters but also used for commerce. The day we left we had a strong headwind so we had to motor the whole way. Still have not put the sails up! But it was a good learning experience as we had a couple large freighters and barges around us and had to navigate through busy waters and communicate with lift bridges. I was so engrossed in the trip I forgot to take pictures!

For the record, I am on the St. Johns river, just south of Jacksonville, FL:

But then there were more problems: loose alternator belt, water in the engine pan where there’s not supposed to be any, speed indicator doesn’t work…the to do list on a boat seems infinite. But I’ve got nothing else to do so I spend my days troubleshooting problems, fixing things, buying spare parts or tools, and still trying to understand the boat.

One of the things on my to do list was to rename the boat. The previous owner had called it Lady N, Too, which was some reference to his wife, Nancy, I guess. Well this was certainly not a name I wanted to keep. After much thought, I finally decided on the name ORION, who is the hunter in the constellation but also the son of Poseidon, Greek God of the Sea. The other name I considered was veni, vidi, vici, which is Latin for I came, I saw, I conquered, a phrase attributed to Julius Caesar after he had achieved a quick victory at the Battle of Zela in 47 BC.

But renaming a boat without following time-honored traditions can incur the wrath of Poseidon, who has the name of every vessel ever launched recorded in the Ledger of the Deep. Therefore, if you want the boat to carry a new name, you need to purge it not just from the ledger, but also from Poseidon’s mind. There is a very specific ceremony you must follow:

1. Remove all traces of the current name.

Start by taking any and every item bearing the boat’s name off the boat. This means documents, decor items, nameboards, and even life rings. Then, strike the name from every record, ranging from log books to maintenance documents. In my case I had to scrape off the old name decal with a razor blade then scrub the gunk off with acetone, which took a good couple hours. Finally, write the old name in water-soluble ink on a metal tag.

2. Begin the purging ceremony.

The official ceremony, in which you address Poseidon himself, calls for good champagne, and good friends as witnesses. Once you’re gathered together on the bow of the boat, recite the following:

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, I implore you in your graciousness to expunge for all time from your records and recollection the name Lady N, Too, 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, drop the metal tag over the bow into the water. Then say:

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

Pour at least half the champagne into the water, from east to west. Share the rest among yourselves.

3. Begin the renaming ceremony.

Address Poseidon once again:

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, I implore you in your graciousness to take unto your records and recollection this worthy vessel hereafter and for all time known as ORION, 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.”

Pour champagne into the water, this time from west to east.

4. Appease the four wind gods.

Renaming a boat also involves asking for fair winds and calm seas for your pending voyages. Recite:

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 ORION the benefits and pleasures of your bounty, ensuring us of your gentle ministration according to our needs.”

Next, address each wind god individually. In facing north, pour champagne into a champagne flute and toss the libation to the north as you say:

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.”

Repeat this request while facing west, east and south and addressing the respective gods, Zephyrus (west), Eurus (east), and Notus (south).

5. Finish Off the Champagne

If you have any champagne left, indulge in honor of completing the ceremony.

Now, at long last, you can take your first item bearing the new name onto your boat.

I am not particularly superstitious but I followed this detailed ceremony to the letter, yes I did, and there was plenty champagne left over to enjoy. Thank you Poseidon, for keeping me safe.

After the ceremony I affixed the name decal on the stern of the boat. Here she is:

Besides all the repairs and upgrades, I have to learn knots. Sailboats have dozens of ropes all over the place, so one must know how to tie various hitches, loops, knots and bends. So in my spare time I read The Knot Bible and practice tying knots. It’s frustrating but eventually satisfying when you finally remember how to do it. Here I am struggling to learn the Zeppelin bend.

Well that’s it for now. I’ve got some engine maintenance next week and maybe I’ll even go sailing.

3 thoughts on “Appeasing Poseidon

  1. JoJo March 1, 2020 / 7:15 pm

    Love the name!! What a great new adventure Kev. Do you ever have guilty feelings for us saps who still have to work??. Be safe cuz!

  2. Machelle Hernandez March 3, 2020 / 9:01 am


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