s/y Nine of Cups
What's In a Name?
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What's in a name?
The actual name "Nine of Cups" comes
from a tarot card.  Tarot cards have a
history as far back as the ancient
Egyptians, and are used to tell
fortunes.The Nine of Cups is an
especially good card and predicts that
your dreams will be realized. Pretty
appropriate for us. The tarot card above
came from a Portugese  tarot deck.
We were hoping to develop a unique logo for Nine of Cups and saw the bronze
seahorses pictured above on a beautiful gate in Halifax, Nova Scotia in the summer of
2001.  We took a digital picture of it and  massaged the image to come up with the
logo above.
Choosing a name for our new sailboat was quite a challenge. We wanted a name that was different and unique. We wanted a name
that had significance for us. We spent a year looking for a boat and just as long deciding upon a name that might be appropriate when
we found her. On Marcie's 50th birthday (yikes!), her sister, Lin, gave her a deck of tarot cards accompanied by a
Reading Tarot
Cards for Dummies
book. Marcie was fascinated by the cards and practiced doing "tarot spreads" and readings on David (who
else?). Of the 78 cards in a tarot deck, 10 are chosen at random for a Celtic spread. Nearly every time David chose his ten cards, the
Nine of Cups appeared, signifying among other things "a dream realized". We realized that this was the chosen name and found our
boat shortly thereafter waiting for us in Kemah, Texas.
The story continues...
Now, renaming a boat is not an easy proposition. There are a lot of superstitions associated with
renaming and we didn't want to risk any bad luck so we thoroughly researched the processes and
ceremonies associated with denaming and renaming boats. They ranged from the Norse belief that  
burning  it to the waterline was the only way to prevent bad luck (not an option) to just sticking a
new nameboard on the transom. After much thought, we combined what we thought was the best
of all the ceremonies we could find and came up with two of our own. First, a denaming...followed
by a renaming ceremony. This took place in Kemah, Texas on the dock and was attended by
some local liveaboards lured  by the promise of free champagne.
Denaming Ceremony
Remove every vestige of the old name from the boat...from the name on the transom to any
paperwork with the name on it...every item...except one. That one item must be burned after
invoking the blessings of Neptune and thanking him for keeping the boat with the old name safe.
The ashes are thrown into the sea.

Renaming Ceremony
There were lots of options here. We chose tying a lock of hair from a red-headed virgin (our
friend Dave Tolan's 6-year old daughter, Katie, volunteered a lock and mailed it to us) around
a rabbit's foot. While invoking the blessings of Neptune once again and asking that he accept
the new name of the vessel and keep the ship and its crew safe in its future passage, the rabbit's
foot is thrown over the left shoulder and into the sea. We ended the ceremony by proclaiming in
the name of Neptune "We hereby christen this ship...Nine of Cups!"

We popped the champagne with the first tot being offered to Neptune.
David prepares the rabbit's foot for
tossing while invoking Neptune's blessings.
David painstakingly carved two nameplates for our
bow from mahogany wood.  The project took several
months and 18k gold leaf was used for the letters. To
read the
article which David published in Boatworks,
click here.
Depending on the tarot deck, the Nine of Cups is illustrated in many ways. In
Spanish-speaking countries, Nine of Cups was pronounced "Nee-nay oov coops" so we
quickly learned "Nueve de Copas" which was easier for everyone. In French Polynesia,
people were much more familiar with tarot and "Neuf de Coupes" was readily understood.
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