When we first unstepped the masts on our 41’ ketch there was a coin under each mast. The boat had been owned at one time by a missionary couple who carried bibles to Central America from the USA and, appropriately, one of the coins was a US half dollar dated 1973, the date the boat was built, and the other was a Guatemalan coin of the same age.
This practice of putting a coin under the mast has its roots in Greek mythology. The theory goes that coins were placed there to pay Charon his fee for taking the departed across the River Styx to the afterlife should the vessel be lost.
To ensure our own safe passage to the afterlife we cleaned up the coins and handed them back to the rigger to be replaced when the masts were put back in. The next time we removed the masts we found no sign of the coins.
Luckily we’d had no need of Charon’s services in the intervening period.