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Richard Branson on How to Rename a Boat
Feb 19, 2015

Richard Branson, the famous multi millionaire, owner of Virgin and definitely one of the most admirable and lovely multi millionaire in the world has something to say on how to rename a boat.

So, in the words of Sir Richard Branson, discover how to rename a boat.

SEE MORE: The “Flying” Mega Yacht

As all good seafarers know, the naming of a boat is an extremely important and noble task. The renaming of a boat is a process fraught with danger and tradition, and getting it right is a serious business. However, you should take the advice below with a huge pinch of (sea) salt!

So how do you go about renaming a boat? This question came up when we bought Necker Belle, our luxurious catamaran that sails Virgin Limited Edition’s guests around the pristine Caribbean Sea. The boat was previously called Lady Barbaretta. As we wanted it to become a mobile, seafaring version of Necker Island, we decided to rename it Necker Belle.

Richard Branson on How to Rename a Boat 4

We dusted off our history books, and discovered the process was not as simple as just painting on a new name. According to legend, the god of the sea (Poseidon, or Neptune, depending on your penchant for Greek or Roman mythology) needed to be consulted. Each and every vessel is recorded by name in the Ledger of the Deep and is known personally to Poseidon (it’s all Greek to me). As we wished to change the name of our boat, we needed to purge the name ‘Lady Barbaretta’ from the Ledger of the Deep and from Poseidon’s memory.

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So, after removing every trace of the boat’s previous identity, except a metal tag with the old name written on it in water-soluble ink, we gathered together the crew, contractors and Poseidon, and met at the bow of the boat. It was time to commence the ceremony.

I called out: “Oh mighty and great ruler of the seas and oceans, to whom all ships and we who venture upon your vast domain are required to pay homage, implore you in your graciousness to expunge for all time from your records and recollection the name ‘Lady Barbaretta’ which has ceased to be an entity in your kingdom. As proof thereof, we submit this ingot bearing her name to be corrupted through your powers and forever be purged from the sea.”

At this point, the prepared metal tag was dropped from the bow of the boat.

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“Now therefore, we submit this supplication, that the name of this vessel has hitherto been known as Lady Barbaretta, be struck and removed from your records and archives. Further, we ask that when she is again presented for blessing with her new name, she shall be recognised and shall be accorded once again the self-same privileges she previously enjoyed. In grateful acknowledgment of your munificence and dispensation, we offer these libations to your majesty and your court.”

Here, and for a good while after, some liberal pouring of Champagne was required all round. There was still the necessity of honouring Great Boreas, Great Zephyrus, Great Eurus and Great Notus, the exalted rulers of the winds, with some rather expressive language and respectful name-checks.

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“Oh mighty rulers of the winds, through whose power our frail vessels traverse the wild and faceless deep, we implore you to grant this worthy vessel Necker Belle the benefits and pleasures of your bounty, ensuring us of your gentle ministration according to our needs.

After some more Champagne pouring, some final poems were read, before we cracked a champagne bottle on the hull, made a toast to Necker Belle, poured wine into the water and rang the bell.
“Hail! Aelous and Neptune! We seek your benevolence upon this vessel, now to be known as ‘Necker Belle’. Aeolus, whose mighty hand doth charge the wind, to this vessel gentle zephyrs send, and we who sail within will bend our heads in awe and tribute, without end…
“With 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 all its mortals, ease.”

“O! Neptune, you spirit God of waters great and small, on this vessel, by your grace, allow these sons and daughters all, to pass from port of hailing to their port of call, and on these sailing subjects make your gentle blessings fall.

“You who cause the seas to rage or lie in sweet repose, please list to we mariners here, your servants of the flows. This ship, the captain, the crew and all those who love the wind and seas – will follow where thee goes.”

Richard Branson on How to Rename a Boat 1



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