When I bought Diva, she had a name that triggered my gag reflex: "Pearl of Paradise". Ack. Superstition or no, there was no way I was going to be able to say that name over a radio
with a straight face. She'd had a rough time of it during the tenure of the namer's ownership
...a brief, failed attempt at two-bit chartering in the BVIs (judging from the state of the sails
, running rigging
, mechanicals, and the ridiculous number of coffee pots and strudel pans in the galley
, they merely motored back and forth from Tortola to Jost Van Dyke serving coffee and pastries) , then packed full of detritus and left to rot
upon the hard for six years. So, I figured if Poseidon rewards good seamanship, a clean break from her neglected past would not offend.
We did the full-blown renaming ceremony as described by John Vigor, saluting the winds of the cardinal points and the big P himself. We couldn't find a bottle of actual champagne to save our life, so instead we talked the owner of the marina bar into parting with his 5-year-old Christmas
Commemorative Edition magnum of Heineken. My crew and I were beer
drinkers anyway. Given the appalling dry rot
and termite damage that prompted my surveyor
to write in capital letters "NOT SAFE TO VOYAGE" at the bottom of his assessment, we didn't dare whack any part of her with a heavy glass bottle, so we popped the cork and poured our tributes fore, aft, port and starboard during the ceremony. At the end, we removed the tarp covering up the new vinyl lettering, though her old name was still clearly legible in the oxidized gelcoat
. Technically, one is supposed to destroy any mention of the old name in paperwork or log books
... we really didn't have that luxury, as we needed to be able to show proof of sale
We then set sail for Chaguaramas for her inevitable ground-up refit
(still, 13 years later, still not quite done, sigh) and en route
had just about everything go wrong that could go wrong, but we did arrive alive and barely afloat. Some have argued that our trials en voyage were proof of Poseidon's wrath, but I look at all that as hangovers from the previous era. Particularly since the 18 days of our Ship of Fools Cruise
were in late July/early August—firmly in Storm Season—and not one major squall hit us on the way.
Ironically, her current
name was bestowed upon her by my unfaithful ex-wife...some would say that's got way more Bad Mojo than anything Neptune could dish out. But the name has turned out to be appropriate with regard to her expensive tastes and my slavish devotion to restoring her to her former glory.
Hm, I thought I had a point to make here...I guess a certain amount of superstition is healthy, reflecting one's reverence for the power of Mom Nature. It goes hand-in-hand with checking your oil
with religious fervor. But when you pick up the transceiver to hail a port, you gotta love the name you're stating.
I think "Svalan" is a lovely name. Beats the heck out of dumbass pun names like "Sea Ya", "Seas the Day", and "Master Baiter".