Its official. S/V Ariadne is now a registered vessel on the British Register of Shipping, with a formal hailing port of White Bay, Jost Van Dyke. The Register of Shipping has issued us with a “Carving & Marking Note” which we will need to satisfy in order to finalize the process once she arrives in her home port later in May, but we are basically done.
The registration of vessels on the British Register is an interesting process - steeped in some history that has caught my attention. Others may find it interesting too?
Initially a vessel owner has to declare eligibility to register, and the ownership of the vessel has to be determined and tied back to eligible British citizens or companies. All British ships are divided into 64 shares, and for my part this was pretty straightforward as the company that will own Ariadne will own all 64. But - why 64?
There are a few possible reasons for this… one is that many years ago wooden sea going boats often had a hull made up of 64 ribs. Also, some say many years ago the British Government of the day used to hold 36 of 100 shares enabling them to requisition the boat in times of war leaving the owner(s) with 64 shares. Another, perhaps more likely, origin comes from the history of trade finance in medieval Italy. In Italy it was common for many goods to be divided into either 24 or 64 shares. Shares in boats were very common and were used to raise funds for the construction of boats and voyages by selling each share - a bit like today’s capital markets. This practice began in the trading hub of Venice before spreading throughout Italy and later across Europe.
The other curiosity is in the naming of the Carving and Marking note itself. Simply put the process is to prove to the shipping registry that the vessel that has applied to be registered has in fact been named and identified in accordance with the paperwork… but Carving? Really? I have images of someone approaching Ariadne with a sharp chisel and a mischievous grin as they start to work on the immaculate GRP hull…! But I am assured that these days, and for my purposes, stick on decals is just fine!
Either way we are getting closer to taking our first trip, and wetting the hull with the required bottle of champagne in the summer! More to come!