POSITIONING WHEN COASTING
using a sextant and horizontal angles. Take three
shore marks as widely seperated as possible, and measure
the angles between them. On a sheet of tracing paper
make a dot to represent ship's position and lay off
the angles from it using great care. If the paper
is then laid on the chart and shuffled around until
the three lines cut the shore marks, the ship's position
can then be pricked through the dot with a point of
the dividers. (SAIL
coasting in well-buoyed waters, look astern often,
both to check on course being made good and to familiarize
with the appearance of the buoyage from a different
angle.You may have to return by that route some day.
Look astern as often as you look ahead when on watch.
In miserable weather one tends to huddle in a fixed
position. (SAIL AFRICA)
If a sheet of paper can be 'laid' in the water so
that it floats flat instead of blowing away, it can
be seen for some distance as it is left astern. This
provides a useful mark for back bearing which can
be compared with couse steered in determining leeway
- BARK NAVIGATION
(Echo timing): The use of a reliable echoe from steep
cliffs, buildings etc. in fog can give rough distance
off. An echoe is the period in time taken for a sound
made aboard (bell, fog horn or gun, etc.) to reach
the shore and be bounched back again. the time is
converted into distance with the formula .09 x time
= distance off in miles. Sound travels at about 1,100ft
per second or .18 miles per second and so the distance
off is one half the total distance travelled by the
sound wave. For a rough quick estimate one can multiply
the total time in seconds by .9. An even rougher guide
is 10sec = 1 mile. Fog can distort or soften an echoe
and wind can also render the meathod valueless. (SAIL
of eye in feet
in nautical miles
Rather quickly: 25-35knots
Very rapidly: over 45knots
When at sea and considering a bolt for nearest shelter
it is important to know the expected speed of a low
and it's direction relative to own position. Shelter
may be too far away for the time available; for example,
a low centred 200 miles away and closing at 40 knots
gives just over 5 hrs: 25 miles at a possible 5 knots.
.06 inches in 3 hours: storm impending
.15 inches in 3 hours: strong storm
.30 inches in 3 hours: extreme storm
(to convert to milibars: pressure in inches x 33.86).
When anchored close under high land look out for squalls.
the cold upper air of mountain slopes seeks the lower
level. (SAIL AFRICA)
(Meeting a cliff): In rising over the cliff the turbulance
and loss of strength can be felt at up to 7 times
the height of the cliff (if it is sheer) to seaward.
Wind will funnel into a cove with increased strength.
(Coming over a cliff): The shelter effect extends
up to 30 times the height of the cliff seaward. (SAIL
BACK ABOARD AT NIGHT
If the yacht is anchored
with open sea beyond her, and to leeward of her, beware
the return aboard with a following breeze and at night.
The breeze can be stronger than you think and impossible
to row against with a full load should you overshoot
or fail to grab hold safely. Make an experimental
turn back upwindwhile still well upwind of the anchored
yacht; only carry as many people in the dinghy as
will allow you to row upwind. To go along side, turn
the dinghy head to wind before dropping down on the
yacht stern first. This also applies to strong, fair
tidal current conditions. Don't rely 100 per cent
on an outboard motor. At night always have anchor,
bailer and torch aboard. (SAIL AFRICA)
HUG A BIGHT, SHUN A POINT
A London river pilotage saying. When working a sailing
vessel up a tide, the bays and inlets are followed
tight round to take advantage of back eddies while
points are given a wide berth because the current
runs harder than them. (SAIL AFRICA)
If the sun goes pale to bed, rain tomorrow it is said.
Evening red, morning grey, help the sailor on his
Evening grey and morning red brings down rain upon
Clouds like rocks and towers, look for squalls and
Pale moon doth rain, red moon doth blow, white moon
doth neither rain nor snow.
Rain before wynd sheets and halyards mind
Wynd before rain set topsail again.
First rise after low then expect a stronger blow.
Mackeral skies and mares' tails, tall ships carry
Long foretold long last, short warning soon past.
When soung travels far and wide a stormy day will
like betide. (SAIL
your stainless - steel cleats, stanchions and other
topside hardware are rusting and difficult to maintain,
use ajax, Zud, Bon Ami, comet, or another such abrasive
- based cleaner as a polish. Rinse well after use;
then coat with auto paste wax. (SAIL AFRICA)
you are cleaning teak with a powder - type brightener,
but the wind blows it away as fast as you can sprinkle,
pour it into a bowl and add some water to create a
sort of syrup and then it will stay where you put
and then, take allof your fibre sheets, guys , halyards
and dock lines to a laundromat. Give them a good washing
and thorough rinse. They will not only come out bright
and clean but supple and they'll last longer. Be sure
to remove all shakels though or they'll beat the hell
out of the washer, dry the lines in fresh air - not
in a dryer.
reseal a gun - type tube of caulking compound to preserve
the remaining contents and to prevent the nozzle from
jamming with hardened compound, turn a machine screw
into the nozzle hole. The screw should be slightly
larger than the hole. (SAIL AFRICA)
you're having trouble keeping your turnbuckles, anchor
shakles, rudder pintles and hatch hinges lubricatedno
matter how often you spray them with "magic slick"....try
using water - pump grease. It seems to old up forever.
of grease, during your next haulout, polish your propeller;
then give it a coating of teflon grease. No living
critter can hold onto this stuff, so once the screw
begins to turn, even barnacles let go. (SAIL
now and then, pour a shot of cooking oil or break
fluid (hydraulic oil) into your marine toilet, especially
if it's difficult to pump. This will lubricate the
seals, "o" rings, and moving parts. This
will improve the toilet's operation dramatically and
reduce repairs. Do not use lube oil. (SAIL AFRICA)
A YACHT (Thanks to Wishful
luck got to do with it?
While renaming Wishful Thinking, I had to do some
research on the "proper" ceremony. Now before
y'all get your dander up and your knickers in a twist,
I take this very seriously. One can not have a proper
vessel without a proper ceremony nor without the proper
libations. So don't go telling us that renaming is
a bunch of hooey. On the other hand we do not hide
in our bunks at night for fear of offending the gods.
It is part of the tradition, continuity and history
of our vessel and the sea. There is a line that started
at the designer's drafting board and continues all
the way to present day. Rituals bond our community
together. Now that's a reason for a celebration (or
as good as any that I can think of). So on with the
unscientifically collected wisdom from the live-aboard
mailing list, YACHT-L list, and other souces:
Attributed to Paul Kamen <email@example.com>
Yes, there is a way to change a boat's name without
upsetting the various deities of the sea and air.
time out with the new name on the boat, luff up into
the wind and drift to a complete stop, then allow
the boat to sail backwards. This represents "backing
over" the old name. Sailing backwards is hard
- requires a good breeze, some waves usually help,
and a fair amount of skill. But the goddesses and
gods that are concerned with these matters are not
easy to impress! If the boat is a fin keel type with
a separate rudder, you should be able to stabilize
in backwards mode and do it for at least a few boat-lengths.
For a full-keeler, the spirits will most likely be
appeased with a half-boat-length or so. Under no circumstance
should you do this under power!
the boat is a powerboat, you will have bad luck with
the new name until you have run aground three times.
I don't know if these can be intentional groundings
- perhaps someone with more experience in this area
could clarify this.
Attributed to David M. Boatman <firstname.lastname@example.org>
In July I was one of a huge party of witnesses as
my friends held a renaming ceremony for their boat
prior to departing/cruising.
consisted of King Neptune appearing in full costume
with trident and presiding over the ceremony on the
bow. He called upon the owners to give the old name
of the vessel then prayed to the gods of the winds,
of the east, west, north, south, etc. to forever forget
the name of vessel. The owners had to swear they had
wiped out every trace of the name from the boat, the
logbooks and other equipment of the boat. Then they
opened a bottle of champagne and poured some off the
starboard bow and the port bow (then the bottle proceeded
to the onlookers on the docks.
Neptune, asked the new name of the boat. Invoked various
blessings and read several famous nautical quotes.
Finally pronouncing the new name was the only recognized
or remembered name and the old one is never to be
champagne off the starboard and port bow accompanied
the new christening and the bottle proceeded to the
was a cute ceremony. Very officious and satisfying
to all who participated or observed.
haven't seen this ceremony performed before but King
Neptune is a world cruiser (of American descent) and
"he" says it was the proper way.
Attributed to David Addleman <ghiberti.cyberware.com!david>
Obliterate all traces of the old name, don't just
cover it up. Documents, lifevests, everything on the
boat. Don't apply the new name yet.
fancy champagne, plead with the gods to forget the
name, drink a little, spill a lot.
another fancy champagne, plead with the gods to accept
the new name. Drink, spill, etc. Apply the new new
name. Never mention the old name.
insult the gods with a presumptuous name like, Storm
Master or Wave Rider, they will accept the challenge
to disprove the name...
assumes that you believe there are gods...if you don't
think so just paint on the new one and pray there
Attributed to George Geist
Old salts used to burn the mast, later it was considered
okay to stick a knife or hatchet into the mast. Modern
day sailors put a new penny under the mast (I used
a dollar coin just to be safe). Of course none of
this helps if you don't toast Neptune with a liquid
salute every time you open a new bottle (or keg) of
rum and of course don't forget when you re-baptize
your boat to again share some of your champagne with
the old man :-)
Attributed to Rev. Karin Conover-Lewis
Ah, well sailors seem to be a superstitious bunch...
a boat is a rather painstaking process, since it's
important to insure that the boat will recognize her
new name and answer to it. It is also considered to
be extremely bad luck to rename a boat while she is
in the water, so the first step, at least, should
be done while she is hauled-out.
it's necessary to remove all references to her prior
name. This includes not only removing names painted
onto her directly but also names entered into log
books, painted on life rings, foulies, etc. If you
like you can have a "denaming" ceremony
at this point. The purpose of this is to prevent her
from becoming confused about what her name really
is.You then paint on her new name, enter it into a
new log, apply it to the liferings, etc. When all
this is done, she can be relaunched. An alternative
school of thought has it that she should not be relaunched
until after the naming ceremony, but on this point
you'll have to make up your own mind. It's difficult
to pour anything into the water at a boatyard when
the boat is a hundred feet or more from the sea.
that she's back in the water, she needs to be told
what her name is preferably before you take her out.
A ceremony should be conducted at this time, officially
naming her and asking for the blessings of the four
winds and the god of the sea (Neptune or Poseidon,
normally). A libation should be offered to the gods
by pouring wine or other spirits into the water and,
if you like, thrown in each of the four cardinal directions.
Now that the gods are appeased, the people attending
the ceremony can offer a toast to the new vessel,
wish her a long and happy life, and repeat her name.
in all, much more satisfying than simply filling-in
a government form.
Attributed to Cameron McDermaid <email@example.com>
A colleague of mine just changed the name of a boat
he purchased. He said its okay as long as you replace
a keel bolt.
John Vigor's Interdenominational
Boat Denaming Ceremony
In the name of all who have sailed aboard this ship
in the past and in the name of all who will sail aboard
her in the future, We invoke the ancient gods of the
wind and sea to favor us with their blessing.
Neptune, King of all that moves in or on the waves;
Mighty Aeolus, guardian of the winds and all that
blow before them; We offer you our thanks for the
protection you have afforded this vessel in the past
. We voice gratitude that she has always found shelter
from tempest and storm and enjoyed safe passage to
we submit this supplication that the name whereby
this vessel has hitherto been known [old vessel name]
be struck and removed from your records. Further,
we ask that when she is again presented for blessing
with another name, she shall be recognized and accorded
once again the self same privileges which she previously
return, we rededicate this vessel to your domain in
full knowledge that she shall be subject as always
to the immutable laws of the gods of the sea and the
consequence whereof, and in good faith, we seal this
pact with libations offered according to the hallowed
ritual of the sea.
ceremony is performed on the bow with a good bottle
of champagne, spray full bottle on the bow as the
libation, Master of the vessel and ceremony gives
the invocation. Mistress of ceremony (if any) performs
the libation and offers a toast to the continued welfare
of the vessel. All retire below with sufficient bottles
of the same champagne for champagne meal, following
which (after at least an hour) a renaming ceremony
is performed with the same parties and a new bottle
of champagne. Followed by a toast:
Neptune, Aeolus and the [newly named vessel], may
she always find fair winds, good sailing and safe
a second bottle. It is important to use the full bottle
on the bow each time - no cheap ceremonies will be
accepted by Neptune!!
Marine Graphics Co has a long
collected wisdom page which will entertain you for
Bryan Genez, "Capella" Valiant 40 #158
had the pleasure of meeting Lin and Larry Pardey this
week, as they were borrowing one of our offices to
prepare their talk at the Annapolis Boat Show.
Lin was leaving this morning, I asked her, "How
did Taleisin get her name?" She replied, "We
got it for a leg."
years ago, the Pardeys, Bernard Moitessier and Tristan
Jones were guests at a dinner honoring these circumnavigators.
A few weeks later, Tristan Jones was hospitalized,
and one leg was amputated.
Lin and Larry heard, they wrote their condolences
to Tristan, and in a light-hearted manner, mentioned
that they had a fine piece of teak that was left over
from the new bowsprit of the boat they were building,
should he want the wood for a peg-leg. Within a few
days, they received a reply from Tristan, in which
he thanked them for offering to build him a peg-leg,
included the necessary measurements, and asked that
it be made lighter than the prosthesis the doctors
had given him, which weighed 16 pounds, and was "uncomfortable."
they'd been caught in a trap of their own making,
Lin went to the library to research peg-legs. She
found a number of drawings of ancient sailors who
had one, and from these drawings and Tristan's measurements,
Larry crafted a teak peg-leg. Lin said, "Since
it wasn't moving, I added six coats of varnish. Then
we packaged it up and sent it off."
it was a hit! Tristan wrote that it fit perfectly,
and that he had some old "Spanish doubloons"
with which he was going to decorate it. At the time,
Tristan was a pauper, but he asked what he could do
for the Pardeys in exchange for their fine gift.
and Lin discussed it, and decided to ask Tristan to
help name their boat. They knew she had to have a
Welsh name, to follow in Seraffyn's tradition, and
wanted her named for a troubadour.
wrote back, "The only appropriate name is Taleisin."
He went on to explain that Taleisin was the grandson
of Merlin (the Magician) and is reputed to be the
author of the work that eventually became the tales
of King Arthur. The name in Welsh also translates
into "wandering singer."
said this story hasn't yet appeared in any of their
books. I was fascinated; hope you enjoyed it as well.
is a little De-naming - Re-naming ceremony I authored
some time ago. It is a compilation of some reading,
very questionable research and some downright "Made
De-naming words and the Re-namin poem are mine. If
you have trouble with using Greek gods in your ceremony,
feel free to subsitute the deity of your choice.
Wind and Seas,
Denaming and Renaming Ralph's
Really Right Renaming Regimen
First: You must DE-name: Example; Bless the former
name and allow that name to go to the everlasting
sea. ( A simple thanks for it's former service and
a good-bye to.... "Old name here"..... should
do.) Also remove ALL traces of the original name.
You must establish the new name - Now here comes the
fun part !!
method - You must pour very good red wine (RED wine,
NOT bubbly- see below ) on the bow and offer some
to the god Poseidon (Neptune) pouring the wine into
the waters of the Home Port, saying out loud the new
name, asking Poseidon to bless the boat and all who
ride within. If it is a sailboat, don't forget Aeolus,
the god of winds. Both gods blessings required. Also,
the Captain(owner), crew and guests should sip the
wine as well (spill and intake quantity is not limited
! The gods like generosity ! )
method - After de-naming : Scuttle the boat out of
sight of land - refloat and rename - not many of us
can do that one ! ( at least not on purpose) :-) ...
method - Have a Virgin urinate on the bow while renaming
the boat and asking Poseidon's blessing -- The major
problem here is ahhhhhh -- Well, I'll let you work
on that one.
used method 1 and 3 ( a friend has a baby girl). By
the way, all the methods have REAL historical backgrounds,
Such as :
wine is the wine to spill, it symbolizes the blood
of a virgin (yep, they used to sacrifice a virgin
and spill the blood on the boat). In later history
the blood of captured enemies or slaves was used.
Urine has a history that is almost as fascinating.
In some cultures leather was used to cover boats and
urine helped tan the leather. Urine was also used
to "wash" away old things and to clean wounds.
Since boats were thought to have souls, when captured,
the soul needed to have the old wounds washed away
and re named to reflect the new owners culture.
is a very "new" invention and was not used
until the 19th century. When christening a NEW ship
it may have symbolized baptismal water. Even today,
in some countries holy water is used instead of wine.
the way the word "christening" should be
a consideration when renaming. Not a religious thing
but you really are not christening a new boat when
renaming. It is possible some folks might feel it
not appropriate to use Greek and Roman gods to bless
a "Christ-ening". Some folks who have used
the following ceremony have substitued... Lord and/or
the De-Naming / Renaming ceremony ( which ever one
you choose ) Please feel free to include the Ode to
the sea and wind gods called "To Appease the
Spirits of the Seas " which I wrote......................
bid hail !! Aeolus and Poseidon !
And seek your benefaction upon this vessel ,
May the name she carried before, be gone as the winds
Having served the former master with honor.
I now, with deep respect, petition you royal beings
To give this vessel's new hailing and her next voyages,
it known by one and all! This vessel, from
this day, will be hailed
as, .....new name....... !
whose mighty hand doth charge the wind,
To this vessel gentle zephyrs send,
And we who sail within will bend
Our heads in tribute, Never end.
breath from high that maketh heaven's breeze,
To cause we sailors joy, or fear, upon the seas.
We call upon you Aeolus, please -
grant this ship and its mortal ease.
Poseidon, you spirit god of waters great and small,
On this vessel, by your grace, allow these sons and
to pass from port of hailing to their port of call,
And on these sailing subjects make your gentle blessings
who cause the seas to rage or lie in sweet repose,
Please list to we mariners here, your servants of
This ship, the captain, crew and all of those -
Who love the wind and seas - will follow where thee
(C) April 1996
Oblio isMe @aol.com
boat blessing ceremony
with a reading paragraph or two from someone who really
dancing joyously across Massachusetts Bay met the
sloop coming out, to dash themselves instantly into
myriads of sparkling gems that hung across her breast
at every surge. The day was perfect, the sunlight
clear and strong. Every particle of water thrown into
the air became a gem, and a Spray, making good her
name as she danced ahead, snatched necklace after
necklace from the seam and as often threw them away.
author of those words was Joshua Slocum, the first
person to sail around the world alone. He was describing
his departure on April 24, 1895, out of Boston on
the tiny sloop "Spray". At the age of 51,
Slocum (once captain of tall ships and now still mourning
the death of his young wife) sailed alone on an old
fishing vessel he had rebuilt himself. The beginning
of an historic voyage around the world.
to popular opinion, those of us who live on the water
do not "love" the ocean. We respect her.
We fear her. We honor her. Love is not the right word
to describe the water itself. But love is the right
word for our boats. We love our boats. Those fragile
structures of wood or fiberglass or metal that create
a temporary haven - a hole in the water- where we
can find safety from the sea.
Grahame, in his classic children's story, The Wind
in the Willows, has the Water Rat describe it this
is NOTHING - absolutely nothing - half so much worth
doing as simply messing about in boats. Simply messing
about in boats - or WITH boats. In or out of 'em,
it doesn't mater. Nothing seems really to matter,
that's the charm of it. Whether you get away or whether
you don't, whether you arrive at your destination
or whether you reach somewhere else, or whether you
never get anywhere at all, you're always busy and
you never do anything in particular. When you've done
it, there's always something else to do, and you can
do it if you like, but you'd much better not.
is nothing half so much worth doing as simply messing
about in boats.
boating life is a lifestyle quite different from any
other. The liveaboard boater is part wandering gypsy
(like the caravaners on land), part bohemian free
spirit and part reckless ne'er-do-well (as landlubbers
are so fond of saying).
we love our boats.
OWNER: "We have come together this afternoon
to perform a blessing on this boat. In ancient times,
a vessel was blessed with all four elements to insure
it remained in balance with the forces of the world.
Today we will do the same."
The first ancient element was AIR (light incense and
pass it to the owner). Air is the element of thought
and logic; of clear vision. By blessing this vessel
with air, we ask that the skipper be always blessed
with clear knowledge and the skill to overcome all
(As you carry the incense around the gunwales from
stem to stern and return, repeat these words) "I
bless this boat with air. May she grant me clear vision
The second element is FIRE (light a candle or lamp
and pass it to the owner). Fire is the element of
change and magic; of transformation and of will. By
blessing this boat with fire, we ask that the boat
behave well in the water - like magic.
(As you carry the lamp around the gunwales from stem
to stern and return, say these words) "I bless
this boat with fire. May she carry me magically through
The third element is WATER (hold up a chalice filled
with water and hand it to the owner). Water is the
element of emotions and love; of relationships and
friendships. By blessing this boat with water, we
ask that the skipper always have many friends at hand.
(As you sprinkle water on the vessel around the gunwales,
from stem to stern and return, repeat these words)
"I bless this boat with water. May I always be
surrounded by good friends."
The last element is EARTH (hold up a pentacle of salt).
Earth is the element of basic needs and sustenance;
of material things and health and financial matters.
By blessing this boat with earth, we ask that the
skipper always have health and happiness.
(As you spread salt around the gunwales, from stem
to stern and return, repeat these words) "I bless
this boat with earth. May I stay healthy , wealthy,
and happily together with this vessel."
Now, repeat after me: "And as I will it, so might
it me! Blessed be!"
"And as I will it, so might it me! Blessed be!"
The blessing is done. May she carry you always as
free as the wind, as sprightly as fire, as lovingly
as water, and as safely as the earth itself. Blessed
compliments of our friend Ginny Kienast and her beautiful