My boat has a **** name, Mordor, thought it was perhaps originally owned by the Essex couple with a similar windscreen shade band, Morris and Doris. Turns out to be something to do with Lord of the Rings. Don't know cos I've not read it. I thought about changing it but the fact that I've got green spray hood, cockpit cover,dodgers and stack pack I'm probably asking for trouble. At least I can find it in a Marina with acres of White plastic and blue spray hoods.
Name-changing of boats (ships, really) cannot be understood without reference to the massive contribution made to safety at sea by Samuel Plimsoll in the late part of the 19th century. Overloaded ships so that decks were almost awash were commonplace, disappearance with all hands a regular occurence - AND it was illegal for crew to desert a ship once they had signed up - regulations all stoutly defended by the powerful ship-owners at the time.
Plimsoll entered politics I think in around the 1860's as an independent with a single issue - reduction of lives lost at sea and it took twenty YEARS for him to eventually get a law passed which required a ship to paint a safe load line (later called a Plimsoll line) on the ship and even then... shipowners could paint the line on the funnel of a steamship, with shipping regulation as we know it only really gaining traction (independent surveyors etc) in the early 20th century.
The (real, not superstitious) bad luck accompanying a change of name is that a well-known dangerous ship would change its name to hide its reputation from the crew.
A fabulous little book with a (much!) better account of all this is called um, The Plimsoll Line (i think?) and is recommended.
Last edited by tcm; 15-09-11 at 09:02.