As of last night, Brocade is Brocade no longer. That was her Pacific name, while Brocade were my title sponsors. Now she is reverting to her original Atlantic name of Sedna Solo. Sedna is the Inuit goddess of the ocean. My reasoning was that if I’m going to cast my fate upon the waters, it makes sense to suck up to the appropriate divinity. And for those of a more spiritual inclination, Sedna is also the goddess of infinite supply, which is a rather encouraging thought. The last few days it really has felt like an infinitely generous universe, with a sudden upturn in people from near and far sponsoring miles, and friends here in Fremantle helping out with final preparations.
I had the opportunity to thank many of them last night. We held the renaming ceremony on the boardwalk behind the Little Creatures brewery, a mere stone’s throw from the Royal Perth Yacht Club Annexe from where I will launch on Friday.
Tradition has it that Poseidon keeps a ledger of all ships’ names. If a boat is renamed, his ledger might get in a muddle, and then the great god himself would get discombobulated. And the last thing we want is a discombobulated ocean god. So correct procedure has to be followed.
Every last trace of the old name has to be eradicated from the vessel. Then the new name is announced, and prayers made to the four winds to beg for kind conditions. The full script (as gleaned from the internet) is reproduced below. It involved much sploshing of good red wine into the waters of Fremantle, which concerned me on several levels (marine pollution! waste of money! waste of perfectly good wine!), but the gods must be appeased. Or at least it’s not worth taking the risk.
The super-green mayor of Fremantle, Brad Pettit, who has been a champion supporter throughout, came along to help with the proceedings, and was persuaded to stick around for a Little Creatures beer afterwards. (Thanks to Brad for arranging bicycles, leisure centre membership, and event license for us.) Many of my trusty volunteers were also there, without whom this could not be happening. (Too many to mention here, but you know who you are, and you know that we love you!)
Col Leonhardt very kindly recorded the proceedings for posterity. These are his photos, and thanks also to Col for this morning’s photo shoot, using the over-under camera. Col will be there again at my departure, to record the event from air, water and land, in video and stills. Watch this space for more of his stunning images!
A question: I’m not especially superstitious, but at the same time it seemed to make sense to observe due process on this occasion for two main reasons:
a) what I do is dangerous enough – no point in tempting fate further!
b) I quite enjoy the sense of seafaring tradition, like I’m connecting into a deep heritage of voyages and adventure.
What are your thoughts? Is superstition a load of hogwash, or something that should be respected?
The Renaming Ceremony (courtesy of Boatsafe.com):
Once you are certain every reference to her old name has been removed from her, all that is left to do is to prepare a metal tag with the old name written on it in water-soluble ink. You will also need a bottle of reasonably good Champagne (we substituted a rather fine Australian wine, in honour of the local custom). Plain old sparkling wine won’t cut it. Since this is an auspicious occasion, it is a good time to invite your friends to witness and to party. Begin by invoking the name of the ruler of the deep as follows:
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 (here insert the old name of your vessel) 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, the prepared metal tag is dropped from the bow of the boat into the sea. Being NOT in favour of marine pollution, we mimed this part.)
In grateful acknowledgment of your munificence and dispensation, we offer these libations to your majesty and your court. (Pour at least half of the bottle of Champagne into the sea from East to West. The remainder may be passed among your guests.
It is usual for the renaming ceremony to be conducted immediately following the purging ceremony, although it may be done at any time after the purging ceremony. For this portion of the proceedings, you will need more Champagne, Much more because you have a few more gods to appease.Begin the renaming by again calling Poseidon as follows:
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 (Here insert the new name you have chosen), 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. (At this point, one bottle of Champagne, less one glass for the master and one glass for the mate are poured into the sea from West to East.)
The next step in the renaming ceremony is to appease the gods of the winds. This will assure you of fair winds and smooth seas. Because the four winds are brothers, it is permissible to invoke them all at the same time, however, during the ceremony; you must address each by name. Begin in this manner:
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.(Facing north, pour a generous libation of Champagne into a Champagne flute and fling to the North as you intone:) 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.(Facing west, pour the same amount of Champagne and fling to the West while intoning:) 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.(Facing east, repeat and fling to the 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.
(Facing south, repeat, flinging to the 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.
Of course, any champagne remaining will be the beginnings of a suitable celebration in honor of the occasion.
Once the ceremony has been completed, you may bring aboard any and all items bearing the new name of your vessel. If you must schedule the painting of the new name on the transom before the ceremony, be sure the name is not revealed before the ceremony is finished. It may be covered with bunting or some other suitable material.
Roz: “a) what I do is dangerous enough – no point in tempting fate further!
b) I quite enjoy the sense of seafaring tradition, like I’m connecting into a deep heritage of voyages and adventure.” a) Fits with a wise old saying, “Just because you are paranoid does NOT mean They are NOT after you!” Chuckle! Likewise, superstitious or not, Tempting danger too often, without due consideration and preparation, CAN BE dangerous… So there is “No point in tempting fate further.” b) I come from a history of such seafaring tradition – I have spent as many days alone at sea as you have, NOT AT ONE TIME, but it total, I am sure… Nothing is more peaceful for me – the sights – frothy sea, clouds, sounds – the lapping of the water against the hull, birds, the wind, smells – the sea, warm surfaces on the boat, a storm coming, and the solitude… Nothing is more grounding – Can you be “grounded” at sea without “Running Aground”? Chuckle! But I surely am by my history and family tradition on the water… So I see NO superstition there – just shared comfort…
Roz, Superstition is fine – we all have some of them… Preparation as you always do makes the Superstitious-ness easier to deal with for all of us…
ROZ: May the Great Spirits of the Universal Order watch over you and protect you! Please be careful on this, your most ambitious journey!
Re: superstitions – I was watching a murder mystery the other night where the lower ranks were wanting to opt out of a superstitious ritual because they thought it was nonsense.
The gruff detective chief inspector informed everyone that they would indeed participate in the ritual because “there’s no upside in screwing with things you don’t understand.”
Wonderful ceremonies! Sorry I could not be there. Best.
Oh, I wish I could have been there to see the ceremony! I think having traditions is a fine thing.
Love the spectacular new look — I am a convert to bright shiny purple!
I had reservations in the beginning, but that’s just my lack of vision!
Sedna Solo shall keep you safe!
Hedge your bets, do the rituals. If they involve drinking good wine or good beer (fond memories of Little Creatures brews!) so much the better!
Tanya, I agree 100% to each suggestion… New to this, But I get the feeling you are a relative of this amazing woman Roz – which makes you amazing too…
One could think of religion as a superstition given the precepts and practices. Especially those deep seated in our minds. I believe Roz is on a different kind of path. To seek an unknown not just about the world but about herself in repect to that world. And a kind of respect is what all great quests are about. It’s not that the world cares back at us in the way we do, but that we extend ourselves in our relationship to other humans and to this strange, inside out cradle, called Earth. There are few who so deeply embed themselves in it’s arms as Roz. The shear physical isolation, the endless rockings, carried about by it’s greater powers of current and wind and her returning yet again to the broad gap between everyone and everything. The very endevouring to start this is exhausting enough. And then, there she is again. And her we are. If only we can see that. And delight as much now our steady shores and soapy showers as she delights in returning to them.
Nautical ceremonies and traditions should be respected as they reinforce our sense of being one with our chosen modes of travel on the oceans or seas. Being ex Navy and listed with Neptune I therefore had to have my sailboat boat Christened by my Church Pastor after naming her so her name would be official. She has served me well ever sense.
I have just read about your journey and have my own fond memories of Western Australian wine after a trip there several years ago! What you’re doing is just fantastic, best of luck! 🙂
Just a quick add-on to the comments….. WOW COL, FANTASTIC PHOTOS! I love the half submerged look, excellent. You inspire the budding photographer in me!
For those of you who weren’t at the launch we had a wonderful time & Roz spoke very well (with the ever present twinkle in her eye).
Hi to Rita!
Cool, and the more Ancient the Tradition, the more respect it deserves! The Ancient gods taught us to be navigators and sailors long before we could even name the Oceans… “Fair winds, Calm Seas and a Prosperous Voyage” to you Roz (and take Mendelssohn’s Overture along for more good luck!)…best, michael guy
Re: respect for superstition, and the peril…
“Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.” ~Helen Keller
…Therefore it is wise just to celebrate any occasion. Follow tradition if you will; but the bigger the celebration, the more drinks one ought to salute to it 🙂
I am pretty sure it was your fellow Brit, Winston Churchill that drank in victory because he earned it, and drank in defeat because he deserved it.
You row strong Roz!