Fair winds and following sea's.....Motto/quote

December 11th, 2004  

Topic: Fair winds and following sea's.....Motto/quote

I'm trying to find the history of this quote. I hope someone can direct me to the right place.
December 13th, 2004  
It's hard to find any info about the origin of that quote, but I've found something here:

Also called "fair winds and a following sea." The traditional farewell (or toast) of a mariner is wishing a friend "fair winds and following seas." The full version is "Fair winds and following seas and long may your big jib draw!" The phrase may also be considered a Naval blessing as well as a farewell. "We bid shipmates farewell with this naval blessing because it represents the ideal underway conditions for which Sailors yearn." It is also said for a departed mariner at a funeral. Despite the pleasant condition of a following sea alluded to in the above phrase, the condition may not always be all that pleasant: See under "Following Seas" further below and also under 'F'.
Following Seas:

Despite the old traditional farewell of (or for) a mariner wishing someone "fair winds and following seas," The pleasant condition of a following sea (the waves coming directly from behind the direction of travel) is not always all that pleasant: Going too fast with a following sea may drive the vessel through the swell ahead onto the downside where the following swell can catch the stern, cause the vessel to yaw, throwing it broadside to the swells. This yawing or "broaching to" may cause the vessel to capsize. An equally dangerous situation may result if the vessel's speed is close to the speed of the swell upon which it is riding causing a loss of steering control. Furthermore a following sea can lead to a situation known as being "pooped." We use the expression "I'm pooped" meaning "I am completely exhausted." Large sailing vessels had a poop deck aft where the helmsman and the wheel were situated. If the vessel was sailing downwind with a high following sea the waves might swamp over the poop deck. In smaller vessels the effect of seas breaking over the poop of the vessel might be the swamping the cockpit, damage to steering and navigation equipment or worse. In all cases it is said that the vessel has been pooped.
Source: http://www.leicesterandleicestershir...ords_Page3.htm
December 14th, 2004  
That's exactly what I'm looking for. Thank you for your help.
September 11th, 2009  

Topic: meanings

someone has complicated this far beyond what is intended. When it tells you following seas, it means currents. And if you have a fair wind and your jib has a full draw, you don't need to worry excessively about being pooped.

the saying is one another "sailor" would understand. Sometimes years at sea on a masted ship this was a way to wish another all the most favorable conditions for speedy travel to their destination. in the case of a death of course this is wishing them a speedy trip to their final destination.
October 11th, 2009  
Now days its said to those Shipmates who retire, I have also heard it at some navy funerals spoken by the attending Chaplin
November 20th, 2009  
Sorry posted the same thing twice, did not realized it posted once.
November 20th, 2009  
Origin of: "Fair Winds and Following Seas."

The origin of the quote "Fair Winds and Following Seas" is unknown. It is often said to have been lifted from a poem, phrase, or literary work, but to the best of this researcher's knowledge, it wasn't. Over the last century at least, the two quotes "Fair Winds" and "Following Seas" have evolved, by usage, into a single phrase which is often used as a nautical blessing.
"Fair Winds": The Dictionary of American Regional English defines "Fair Wind" as "safe journey; good fortune." An early example of the phrase's use is in Herman Melville's Moby Dick, published in 1851, where it says near the end "Let me square the yards, while we may, old man, and make a fair wind of it homeward." In other words, let me square the yards (add on all sail) and make a safe journey home.

"Following Seas": Defined by Bowditch's American Practical Navigator as "A sea in which the waves move in the general direction of the heading." It further defines "Tide" as "the periodic rise and fall of the water resulting from gravitational interactions between the sun, moon, and earth. . . . the accompanying horizontal movement of the water is part of the same phenomenon." In simple terms: the movement of the water, the waves, and the surface, correspond with the movement of the tide.

"Fair Winds and Following Seas" is really two quotes originating from different sources. The two quotes are a nautical phrase of good luck--a blessing as it were--as the person, group, or thing it is said to departs on a voyage in life. It is often used at a "beginning" ceremony such as a commissioning ceremony of a ship or people, as well as in retirement, change of command, or farewell ceremonies.

Source: Researched by Samuel Loring Morison.