Wednesday 28 September 2016

Brains behind Boaty McBoatface name for polar research ship apologises

Published 21/03/2016 | 12:21

An artist's impression of the state-of-the-art polar research ship
An artist's impression of the state-of-the-art polar research ship

The brains behind Boaty McBoatface has apologised and said he will not be backing the name he put forward for a new polar research ship.

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James Hand said that w hile he stands by Boaty McBoatface as a "brilliant name" for a boat, he has actually voted for RRS David Attenborough to be the new name.

The former BBC radio presenter explained his reasons for suggesting the name to the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) on Thursday, on BBC Radio Jersey on Monday morning.

He said: "I would say 90% of the entries at that point were really quite funny so I thought, I'll throw one into the ring and just see what happens.

"By the time the site eventually crashed yesterday it was leading by about 8,000.

"I have apologised profusely. The storm that's been created - it's got legs of its own."

It is not the first time that Mr Hand has pitched the name - he also suggested it to the Condor Liberation in a competition in early 2015.

"Part of me thinks that Condor didn't like it because it might have made them look a little bit silly. I bet they are kicking themselves now," he added.

Mr Hand's suggestion is currently leading with 28,590 votes. The second-favourite - the RRS Henry Worsley, named after the explorer who died trying to make the first unassisted solo crossing of the Antarctic in January - has just over three thousand votes.

Some of the more unusual of the 3,824 suggestions include the RRS Onion Knight, RRS I Like Big Boats & I Cannot Lie, and RRS Capt'n Birdseye Get Off My Cod.

The RRS Bowie, RRS Kanye West and RRS The Miss Cilla Black have also been floated as possible names.

The NERC's terms and conditions state the final decision on the new name will be taken by its chief executive.

Alison Robinson, NERC's director of corporate affairs, said the council was "delighted" by the public's enthusiasm and "pleased that people are embracing the idea in a spirit of fun".

She said: "We've had thousands of suggestions made on the website since we officially launched; many of them reflect the importance of the ship's scientific role by celebrating great British explorers and scientists.

"We have suggested some criteria for the name on our website and the final decision will be announced in due course.

"We are very much enjoying hearing everyone's ideas."

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