Naming of Nereus

What’s in a Name?

We get a lot of questions about the naming of our vessel. We went though a long list of names before we even owned the boat. We wanted a Westsail and had to have a name we felt would fit.

The list was originally quite long. It included usual boat type names like “Horizon’s End,” which receive brief consideration as a good description for a Westsail. An unusual name that we really liked was “Sapphire Dragon,” named after a tree from China that can withstand the elements; and sounds neat, too. Three such trees grow in the back yard of our old home. “Two Fried Eggs” was fitting of our usual states of mind after a long weeks romp through the Vegas wonderland. However, that name isn’t fitting for a stately Westsail and is perhaps reserved for a dingy.

Names aside, there was the added issue of bad luck that is involved when changing a boat’s name. Steve read about an old tradition of naming vessels after Greek gods for luck. Even though we planned on all the proper ceremonies involved with changing a boats name, we felt the extra luck gained by naming our Westsail after a god would be a good thing (we aren’t really superstitious, just careful). Besides, a traditional looking boat, like a Westsail, deserves a traditional name. We set out searching the internet for greek mythology sites. Upon searching alphabetically, we discovered the god Nereus. To us, it was an obvious revelation.

Nereus was a kindly sea god in Greek mythology. The Greeks believed that he lived in the Aegean Sea and came to help sailors and give them good advice. He was one of the well-known gods of the sea and the lord and master of winds. He was considered to be an excellent craftsman and an experienced seer who had foreseen the fall of Troy. Even though he could foretell the future, he would not answer questions unless he was caught. To avoid that he would change his shape, as did many gods of mythology.

Nereus was born early in the earth’s history and was sometimes called the “Old Man of the Sea.” He was said to be born old, with trademark bald and wrinkled forehead and a long and pointed beard. His parents were Pontus, the oldest sea god, and Gaea, the ancient goddess of the earth. Nereus, with his wife Doris, had fifty beautiful daughters called Nereids, the fifty sea nymphs. Hesiod says Nereus is, “A trusty god and gentle, who thinks just and kindly thoughts and never lies.”

What better name for a Westsail than that. A trusty boat that is kind and gentle. A vessel that has helped many a man though rough times. Born early in cruising history; in fact, set the precedent for cruising boats. Well crafted – built to go anywhere. Master of the winds. One to rely on. One who will see you though to tomorrow. Compliance with tradition and a name that fits. Nereus it is!