The Boat

Puerto Rico Superstitions

Superstition or just an excuse for a party?

As we get older it is funny how we let superstitions find their way into our lives. I am sure we all have a few things we do daily that are just plain weird. I know I do. I won’t go into much detail about that though or you might think I am weirder than I actually am.

The most popular superstition in Puerto Rico is related to the Moon. They say all the crazy things that happen seem to happen when it’s a full moon (lunacy). The biggest thing I have noticed about the full moon in PR, are the drivers. It seems that the friendliest people turn into the most unfriendly people behind the wheel during a full moon. Unfortunately, this seems to last for several days before and after the full moon. I am not excluding myself. I also turn into a lunatic driver during that time. So let me get back on track.

Superstitions, we all have them. We just may not realize how important they are until something happens. We recently purchased a small boat in San Juan and sailed it to the west side of the island. On the way we had a few challenging things happen. So now we take superstitions a little more seriously.

The boat we purchased came with a name that we did not like and it was very difficult to say, “Senses Pleasures”. Can you say that ten times fast? Or can you imagine how that name sounds on a scratchy VHF radio? Plus as my son says, “it sounds like a strip club!” So we decided on a new name and started moving forward with changing the registration and USCG documentation. You would think this is an easy task. Nope, I am convinced that things that should be easy never are.

After several months we were granted approval to officially change the name and update registration and USCG Documentation.

We then removed the name from the boat. We did not put the new name on the boat until we completed a ceremony to the gods. It is a very bad omen to change the name of a vessel. But it can be done if some certain steps are followed. The process of changing the name of a boat is more involved than removing the old name and slapping on the new. Basically it’s an excuse to have a party, drink champagne, and have some very good spirits.

The first step is to congratulate and celebrate the new owners. I thought this part was funny. You must convince the boat, yes the boat that the new owners are worthy and generous. The boat has to believe this. I am pretty sure our boat believes this now. Then and only then can you precede with the ceremony. First you must thank the previous owners and gods for their previous stewardship of the vessel. Then the old name must be written on a small metal plaque and thrown into the sea. Of course, it is important to remove all traces of that old name from everything on the boat before the ceremony. The previous name will now be retired and stricken from Poseidon’s list. A final toast with good champagne is made to all who are present, then to the previous owners, and finally to the gods of the wind and the seas.

It was a wonderful day. We invited all the important members of the maiden voyage to this ceremony. We had guests travel from Maryland, Isabela, Rincon and Hormigueros. Keep in mind that it is very important to honor the gods as they grant safe passage over their seas. Plus, it is excellent excuse to have a party, have a few drinks and reminisce.

I am not a superstitious person but after the first voyage I am not willing to tempt fate. And watch out for the next full moon as this lunatic will now be driving a boat. ARRRRRRRRRHHHHHHHHHH, that’s pirate for lets have a party….

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