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Cape Cod A Neat Name for Every Ship

Cape Cod’s ports and other ports on the New England seaboard sent many a whaler to sea. It is interesting to observe the kinds of names which the shipowners gave their vessels.

Some of these names seem to signify the sense of pride, hope, ambition, past bad luck, daring, trust, or other quality or experience of the owners.

Family sharing or affection is reflected in such ships’ names as Two Sisters, Brothers, Three Brothers, while scores of ships bore the names of wives, sisters, or sweethearts.

Hope and ambition showed in such names as Peace and Plenty, Perseverance, Chance, By Chance, Good Return, Fortunate Farmer, Hope On. What was signified by Trial?

Memories of home may have accounted for the name Exile, Sailor’s Return, and Brunette.

Birds, always so meaningful to seamen, were honored in the choice of such ships’ names as Tropic Bird, Petrel, Sea Bird, Eagle, Black Eagle, Condor, Hawk, Young Eagle, Ospray (osprey?), Lap Wing, Wren, Falcon, Kingfisher, Pelican, Plover, Swan, Sea Gull, Dove, Humming Bird, Oriole, Peacock, and Lark.

One whaler proudly bore the name of Cape Horn Pigeon of Cape Cod. She hailed from Provincetown.

The pretty Cape Cod gardens blooming in springtime and summer while their owners hunted whales in distant seas may have accounted for such flowery names as Iris, Rose, Daisy, Bluebell, Clematis and Primrose. Even the name Thorn had a point to it.

Shipowners with a flair for ancient history seem to have preferred such names for their ships as Hannibal, Cato, Marcus, Plato, Fabius, Leander, Cicero, Leonidas, Spartan, Julius Caesar and Coriolanus.

Other shipowners inclined mythology for their choice of ships’ names. These included Neptune, Ceres, Cadmus, Europa, Venus, Juno, Diana, Janus, Apollo, Hercules, Mermaid, Triton, Argonaut and Dragon.

The sea was not overlooked as a rich mine for finding appropriate names for whaling vessels. It contributed such fit symbols for bow and stern as Codfish (of Cape Cod), Sea Fox, Sea Shell, Nautilus, Sea Horse, Ocean Steed, Flying Fish, Ocean Rover, Ocean, Bounding Billow, Wave, Wavelet, Ocean Wave and Sea Queen.

The great elements of sky, wind and sun figured in such choices as Tempest, Morning Star, Sun, Sunbeam, Sea Breeze, Polar Star, Silver Cloud, Flying Cloud, Rainbow, Golden West, Rising Sun, Dawn, Pleiades, Mars and Northern Light.

The chief object of whaling itself was remembered in the names of whaling vessels such as Narwhal, Grampus, Whale, Cachelot, Spermaceti, Cetacean, Bowhead and Dolphin.

Some ships were named after precious stones, such as the Amethyst, Agate, Gem, Pearl, Ruby and Diamond.

Others remembered the Pilgrim days with significant names such as Mayflower, Plymouth and Pilgrim.

Sea animals, real and fancied, were remembered with Nautilus, Sea Horse and Sea Fox.

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Cape Cod
Posted by Cape Cod - (website) on 05/10/06
Categories: BoatingHistory
Keywords: history, maritime, whaling


I understand that the ship that took the USS YORKTOWN in tow after it was hit during the BATTLE OF MIDWAY was the USS VIREO

Posted by Flu-Bird from Etna, CA USA on 03/08/09 at 06:03 AM | #

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