Fair Winds & Following Seas
My father built his own sailboat, designed it creating half models one winter. He chose his favorite and he began in the spring. He set up forms in the barn, cut narrow strips of wood, screwed them in, polypropylened outside and inside, built the cabin. He was a carpenter by trade, ship building was a sideline. What he created was a solid, stable, reliable, good looking, handsome, unique, one-of-a-kind craft that we sailed for more than a dozen years. As a kid, his first boats were all sail. As a new dad, he transitioned into motor and had a dozen motorboats over a dozen years. He rode them hard. When Dad went back to sail, I learned the term, “Fair winds and following seas,” and came to understand that a boat doesn’t necessarily stand in opposition to the sea and that waves are not just for jumping, pounding and plowing through.
“Fair winds and following seas” was about being together with the sea, at one with the sea, a generally gentle flow of boat with wind, with wave, where boat was in rhythm with waves. Where time and destination stood second to passage and experience of serenity and calm.
One of the things that surprised me that motor versus sail revealed, is that there are two very different oceans: one wet and often violent, one damp and frequently serene. As I think back to our years of sailing and fair winds and following seas, the sailing ocean I know and remember resembled more the family cat and dog versus the skunk and wild fox of the motor boat’s ocean. Sail boating was not all peace and tranquility. It was, however, closer to a state of transcendent calm and meditation than anything I’ve ever found on dry land.
“Fair winds and following seas” is a nautical blessing for safe journey and good fortune across the sea and on the voyage of life. A wave swept ring with a rich blue oval sapphire center and two brilliant diamond sides.
Blue Sapphire – Blue sapphire usually comes from Southeast Asia. It’s a color nature feels generous with in this part of the world. We love blue, particularly blue that shows well after the sun goes down.
Diamonds – world sourced, cut in Belgium. Well-cut with a full complement of 58 facets, rating a 3 on our quality cut scale. Nice white color, beautifully matched. Hardness 10.
About the Trade Wind Collection:
Where does inspiration come from? Where do the creative sparks for design begin? For Cross’ new Trade Wind Jewelry Collection, we find ourselves drawn into the story of Captain John Henry Drew, from Gardiner, Maine. Born in 1834, he grew up the son of a Ship’s Carver, and went to sea at the age of 15, eventually becoming Captain of a series of clipper ships, and traveling from New York to China and back home, when that voyage took more than seventeen months.
Instead of carving or knotting or other hobbies that were characteristic of sailors, this mostly self-educated man read books, memorized details from newspapers, and wrote about his journey—his literal and his inner journey. His hand-written and personally illustrated journals tell us of his longing for Maine, for his family, and for “making something of himself”. He is very much like you and me, and it makes his story that much more compelling. He savors apples from home, as tasting better than apples from anywhere else. He imagines the scene he might see looking in the window at home, where his family sits, and he chastises himself for not getting more done at home when he was there.
The jewelry in our Trade Wind Collection is made by his great-great-great grandson, Keith. This young man went to sea as well, at age 18. As part of his service to the US Navy, his travels took him to many of the same places his great-great-great grandfather’s clipper ships visited. Keith also had a hobby unconventional for sailors— he had a fascination for gems and he studied gemology. He studied so that when his service was completed, he could become a jeweler. As Keith traveled the world, he collected exquisite gems, and after leaving the service and returning home, he mastered the art of fine jewelry making.
It is now decades later. We met Keith for the first time in March, 2014. We were impressed with his jewelry, and as we talked further, discovered he had a clipper ship sea captain ancestor and became intrigued with the parallels of his journey in life with that of his sea captain forebear.
The parallels in the two stories are expressed in the jewelry itself—the exotic colors, the flow of the designs, the attention to detail which is something passed down in this family—whether it is to protect the ship, its cargo and its crew, or to create a design that will last and protect its valuable gems, giving the wearer the same pleasure we experience when a ship at full sail goes by. You can’t help but stop and exclaim, “Isn’t that beautiful?”
We were hooked by this story, and by the jewelry. We think you will be too. In fact, we’re posting pages from Captain Drew’s journals from the Voyage of the Franklin in 1868. Take a few minutes to join in the journey, and think of those you love most, and rejoice if they are right there with you.
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