Wow, this was a cool discussion to stick my nose/bowsprit into. It's interesting how people have so many different views and I can't help sharing mine. As a little girl, I grew up with the old way traditions of the ancestors from the mix of tribes that I came from. The strongest traditions are from the relation that earned a living fishing
and dealt with boats quite a bit. Passed down to me were beliefs and such about boats- hope this doesn't sound to hokey, some of my European friends think it is! That's okay, everyone has a view. Where I'm from, boats do have spirits and the older she is and the more she is loved, the stronger her spirit becomes. Boats are "he" gender in some tribes and some countries like in Russia
(at least in the past it was). Boats are as alive as we are according to my native belief, they just don't bleed like we do. To live on one is to really have a chance to get to know a boat's spirit, only if one is open to the idea and listens. She can protect you and see things that you can't and, it's believed by the ancestors, warn you about storms coming or other hazards. She'll talk to you in her boatish ways and try to tell you about repairs
that need to be done before they get dangerous. One can even fall in love with a boat in varying degrees. To keep a boat's spirit happy, my relatives would "feed" her offerings of food
, flowers or drink by putting the stuff on her bow.
The champaign christenings of boats came from an ancient Viking practice of killing slaves during the launching of a new vessel as it was believed that their souls would enter the vessel and make her a successful seagoer. (Gee, you'd think that the killed slaves' souls would be a bit tee'd off and make the boat unlucky!) In time, blood gave way to red wine then white wine. In parts
of the Caribbean
, it's believed that a boat MUST have a soul in order to do a safe job at sea. In my travels, I've seen other cultures "feeding" their boats goodies for luck, so that must be a common thing. Scottish fishermen fed their vessels strong grain alcohol (a drunk boat?).
Personally, with such a biased upbringing and a strong leaning on the spirit world, I really do believe that my boat has a soul. It's funny
, but when people that I haven't seen in a long while pass by Angel and me, they wave "hi" at Angel first! Then they ask how she's doing and comment if she looks "happy" or "tired". Yesterday, cruising buddy Bill said that Angel was "staring" at him, and he's a logical, down-to-earth fisherman who doesn't believe such things unless he sees it for himself.
Anthropomorphize (spelling?) the heck out of a boat- it makes the boat owner take better care out of her and thus making her a safer vessel.