Hi. Acknowledgement to various Navy Books for this Article.
Some history about launching ships.
Upon the launching of a newly completed ship, a bottle of champagne is usually smashed over the bow to christen it. The origins of this are a little unclear and can vary slightly from culture to culture, but for the most part it is believed that blood or wine, depending on the particular culture, was originally used as a sacrifice to the gods of the sea to allow for a smooth passage.
Over time this became wine by those who originally used blood, and the wine was poured first into a silver chalice, from which a sip was taken before spilling the wine over the ship and casting the chalice into the sea.
After 1689, William the III of Britain, in an effort to cut costs, ordered the Royal Navy to break a bottle of liquor against the ship's side instead.
During the early 1800's, the Prince Regent set in place the custom of choosing a woman to perform the ceremony. The bottle was then to be held by the neck and thrown against the ship, however the rules had to change again after one particular bottle missed the ship and hit a spectator.