The name is Prudence. It’s always been Prudence. Pru402 is now Prudence, Mid Pru was Prudence, and Old Pru was Prudence. The name arrived when David arrived, and he says that as long as he’s wanted a big boat to live on, he’s wanted to name it Prudence. Why?
“It’s a play on words,” David says. “What’s less prudent than owning a boat?” The answer is always “owning a horse.”
Some people consider renaming a boat a travesty, an affront to the sea Gods, and goading Neptune to sink your vessel. After a lot of research though, it’s done often, and as long as you do it right and with plenty of expensive champagne, the ocean should take care of you.
Old Pru had been named Mabuhay by the previous owners when they bought her new at the Cow Palace boat show in 1977. They cruised Mabuhay up and down the west coast, and took her to Hawaii. When David acquired her, he had not gone through the proper channels to rename a boat, and that boat had all kinds of issues. She almost tried to sink herself, even. He thought I was crazy when I said “well, you didn’t rename her properly, of course you are going to have problems.” Neither of us are superstitious people, but why flaunt your arrogance when you don’t actually know for sure? David and I removed all traces of the previous name and the name “Prudence”, went backwards, and alone we did a renaming ceremony.
When we acquired Mid Pru, she was named “Austral”. She was on the hard at KKMI when we did her renaming ceremony, but first we denamed her. Then, on a dreary January day we invited our friends to come over and rename her from the pavement, we had some decent champagne, and some munchies. It was a fun, simple afternoon party.
Pru402 came with the name “Blow’n Away” in HUGE letters on both sides. The ‘A’ alone was 16 inches high. Someone wanted to make it very clear to everyone in the bay that they were “blown away”. The man who originally owned and named her was someone Allison (our broker) knew, because she was the one that commissioned the boat for him. The 2nd owner never changed the name, and it appears he barely sailed the boat. We decided to rename this one too, because why change the name if it’s been working so far? It’s like a good luck charm.
July 24, 2021, we had a renaming party at Richmond Yacht Club with 20 of our friends. This time, we bought good champagne for Neptune and a couple bottles of excellent rum. We had Cornelio at the taco truck behind the Chevron make us a platter 120 street tacos for the event. And, we had an excellent time making the boat ours. The party lasted well into the evening with most of the same people that were at the last renaming party.
How to Rename a Boat
- Remove all traces of the current name.
- Begin the purging ceremony.
- Begin the renaming ceremony.
- Appease the four wind gods.
- If you have champagne left, indulge in honor of completing the ceremony.
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. Some people recommend burning them, to ensure you obliterate the name, but white-out fluid does the trick just as well. Finally, after you’ve checked and re-checked that you’ve completed these steps, write the old name in water-soluble ink on a metal tag. Do not, under any circumstances, take even one item with the new name onboard yet! In fact, you can’t do this until you’ve completed all of the tasks outlined below.
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 (mention the old boat name), 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.
Speak to 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 (say the name you’ve selected), 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.
Make sure you have more champagne on hand, because you’ll need to pour it, minus one glass for you and one for the mate, 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 (say your boat’s new name) 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.
Next face west, repeating the champagne pour and toss while saying:
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.
Face east, repeating the champagne pour and toss while saying:
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.
Lastly, face south, pouring the champagne and tossing it while reciting:
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.
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. Hopefully you haven’t had the transom graphics changed yet. If scheduling issues prevented waiting until after the renaming ceremony, though, keep the new name covered until you finish all the steps.
Yes, this is incredibly detailed, and incredibly superstitious. But would you rather tempt fate?