Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Renaming Our Leopard

I'm still catching up on the posts...but at least heading in the right direction now.

While my wife and I were both together on the boat, it seemed like the best time to perform the renaming ceremony.  For anyone that isn't familiar with all the superstition surrounding sailing vessels and the high seas, there is a lot of it. And naming, or renaming, a vessel is one of those items steeped in tradition and lore.  Since we had already submitted the paperwork to the Coast Guard to change the name (which I hear might be processed in a few more months), it was about time to make the name change happen.

The basic concept is that you need to appease the gods of the seas and wind (Poseidon/Neptune, Boreas,  ZephyrusEurus, Notus) and it seems, just like with many a sailor, drink is the appeasement of choice for the sailing gods.  So the ceremony consists of asking the gods to be good to the boat while pouring copious amounts of champagne or wine into the water or flinging it through the air.  There are some other "options" and variations on the theme, but they all seem to have that in common.  I do wonder why it is not rum...but then I don't really want to waste perfectly good rum do I?

Here is a write-up on the ceremony we used:

To get the old name off of the boat was easier than I thought it would be.  I ended up using a plastic scraper and my newly acquired heat gun (if you own a boat and intend to do any work on hoses, you'll need one of these) to remove the old lettering.  A little heat loosened the glue and the letters peeled off fairly easily.  A little goo gone took care of what little residual glue remained.
Farewell Breathe
After the letters were removed we could see both the old name (Breathe), and the prior name (Magnificat) in the gel coat. There was some discoloration and the gel coat, of course, does not wear under the vinyl letters so they are raised a bit.  I used some rubbing/polishing compound to try and smooth it out before adding the new letters.

Applying the letters is pretty straight forward.  We got the lettering from Lettering On the Cheap (which may be a bit of a misnomer but weren't bad, had easy to use online design tools, and delivered pretty quickly). The letters come attached to a big clear temporary sticker used for positioning.  Following the online video instructions on their site, we were able to get the new lettering applied to the boat a few hours before the ceremony was supposed to start.  Of course, we had to immediately cover up the new lettering so as not to offend the gods until the ceremony was complete.

Our first attempt at the ceremony was postponed due to the cold and rain (so much for "Sunny Florida" during "the dry season") but several guests showed up anyway so we ended up having an impromptu party...or maybe it was the pre-naming celebration.

The next day the rains held off so we were able to complete the ceremony.  Unfortunately we didn't have quite as many people show up as the previous day, but it was a fun time anyway.  We asked begged the gods to be kind to our fine vessel and poured and flung champagne (keeping the corks from the naming ceremony on board to ensure the boat stays afloat is apparently another tradition), then finally removed the covering from the new lettering.
Hello Rover
So, it is now official, we have a cat named Rover. If you want to know more about how we came upon this name, check out this post.  Now a few random pictures from the ceremony and party ( wife won't let me post any including her yet).

Opening one of the sacrificial bottles of champagne.
A few friends waiting on the dock while we did the ceremony.
Champagne, wine, beer...something will appease the gods, right?
Hopefully the first of many gatherings of friends on Rover.

A special thanks to Britton and Dieter for providing some of the pictures...and for reaching out when they noticed I was in their area.  The cruising community is very cool because of people like them (and most every cruiser or wannabe cruiser I've had the fortune of meeting thus far has been very cool).


  1. We had a great time with both the pre-naming ceremonial gathering and the official one! We haven't forgotten about the video either. We've just been way busier with work than we like to be lately... It's really cramping our style I seeking "the simple life". :-)

    1. Glad you had fun. No worries about the video...debating if I want to see it. ;-)

      I completely understand about the time issues...after all, this post is about a week and a half after it happened. Still don't know how some people can manage daily posts.

  2. Mike: my name is John. My wife and I bought the Fountaine Tobago in Miami. We sailed it up to Port Canveral during the Christmas break. Our home is in Ohio. We are coming back to Fl on March 22 and (if the weather cooperates) will try to make it to Savannah. The boat will stay there until mid June when w are planning on taking 12 weeks or so enjoying the east coast. I think our stories are very similar. Not much sailing experience but looking for a new adventure. I just wanted to say hello. Perhaps one day our paths will cross. Where in Ga are you heded? What marina in St Augutine are you staying? Good luck with your journey

    John S

    1. Hi John,

      That Tobago seemed like a real nice boat when we saw it, I'm sure you'll love it.

      As I mentioned, I'm a bit behind on the blog...the boat is actually in Brunswick Georgia now. We were staying at the Hammock Beack marina in Palm Coast (a nice marina and pretty decent price if you are motoring up the ICW).

      Sounds like you might pass right by sometime. Feel free to give me a shout if you want to meet. You can send me an email at (sorry...bit of a riddle to try and fool the spam bots here) the name of the blog as a single word, followed by the at symbol and ending with

      Take care and good luck with your travels as well.