The ceremony of christening new ships began in the distant past. The Romans, Greeks, and Egyptians all held ceremonies to ask the gods to protect sailors.
By the 1800s the christenings of ships began to follow a familiar pattern. A “christening fluid” would be poured against the bow of the ship, though it was not necessarily champagne. There are accounts in the Navy records of 19th century warships being christened with water from significant rivers.
The christening of ships became great public events, with large crowds assembled to witness the ceremony. And it became standard for champagne, as the most elite of wines, to be used for the christening.
Maritime superstition held that a ship that wasn’t properly christened would be considered unlucky. A bottle that didn’t break was a particularly bad omen. Ships properly Christened with a bottle that breaks would ensure good luck for the ship and her sailors.
This past weekend, Trish the Optimist was Christened as part of the celebration of the life of Trish Wisener. The gathering was held at Rigadoon with a large crowd of Trish’s family, friends and neighbours to witness the ceremony. A bottle of Ontario’s best Champinade was duly smashed by James and Tim Wisener over Trish’s bow, ensuring that Trish the Optimist and all of her SLSC sailors would be blessed with good fortune.[slideshow id=6]