Sunday 4 December 2016

Man who coined 'Boaty McBoatface' name for €255m research vessel: 'I'm sorry for coming up with it'

Jemma Crew

Published 21/03/2016 | 12:38

Undated handout artist impression issued by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) of the new state-of-the-art polar research ship which will set off for Antarctica in 2019 and the NERC are seeking the public's ideas for the name it should bear on its hull. Photo: NERC/PA Wire
Undated handout artist impression issued by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) of the new state-of-the-art polar research ship which will set off for Antarctica in 2019 and the NERC are seeking the public's ideas for the name it should bear on its hull. Photo: NERC/PA Wire

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 while 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.

Read More: €255m ship possibly to be named Boaty McBoatface thanks to an online poll

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.

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