Not sailing but cool and funny…
The good news for the Natural Environment Research Council’s decision to crowd-search a name for its latest polar research vessel is unprecedented public engagement in a sometimes niche area of scientific study. The bad news? Sailing due south in a vessel that sounds like it was christened by a five-year-old who has drunk three cartons of Capri-Sun.
Just a day after the NERC launched its poll to name the £200m vessel – which will first head to Antarctica in 2019 – the clear favourite was RRS Boaty McBoatface, with well over 18,000 votes. The RRS stands for royal research ship.
Coming a distant second was the considerably more serious-minded suggestion of naming the vessel after Henry Worsley, the British explorer who died in January near the end of his attempt to become the first person to cross the Antarctic unaided.
The government-funded ship will be built at the Cammell Laird shipyard on Merseyside and will carry out a variety of research trips to both Antarctica and the Arctic. The NERC – which was wise enough to ask that people “suggest” names, giving it future wriggle room – asked for ideas to be inspirational. Read on.