“Fair winds and a following sea, and long may your big jib draw” is an old nautical phrase to wish good luck or a blessing. This saying comes to mind as my term is coming to an end and as I write my last Wisconsin Masonic Journal article as Grand Master. This saying is often used by sailors at a “beginning” ceremony, such as a commissioning of a ship, or in a change of command, a retirement, or as a farewell in ceremonies. “Fair winds” offers a sailor a wind that will take you to the places you want to go at a safe speed. A “following sea” will ensure the most comfortable passage on your journey by having a current behind you to push you along. From personal experience I will tell you that sailing against a choppy current can result in seasickness, so a following sea is indeed a blessing! “Long may your big jib draw” refers to the jib sail (the big forward sail) remaining full with wind, thus pushing the ship with ease and efficiently.
I’m very proud of the progress we have made in Masonry. Wisconsin Freemasons have worked together as a team this past year and throughout my journey in Grand Lodge, and we have made great strides. As we go forth “our Masonic ship” is in good hands. We have outstanding leaders in our line and they “pull together” as one. I have the very highest respect for Right Worshipful Brother Scott Pedley; he will be a great leader for our fraternity. The progressive line behind him is an extraordinary group of officers with incredible skill and ability. We have a very bright future!
Freemasonry in Wisconsin is on a good course. Many of our Lodges are growing and thriving as evidenced by the 43 Lodges that have shown a positive increase in members this past year, and our retention rate is among the best in the country. Wisconsin Freemasons require high standards and we enforce the bounds. In addition, we are brightly shining the light of Freemasonry into our communities with our many acts of kindness and charity. Through action and deeds, we are letting Wisconsin and the rest of the world know who we are, and what we stand for. Wisconsin Freemasons are “showing the way”.
On a personal note, thank you for the generous outpouring of support and hospitality you have shown to Cindy and I. This Masonic family is truly something very special and it has indeed been a great honor to serve you as Grand Master. I’m not going away, and will always be ready to serve Freemasonry as needed, so I won’t say farewell but I will say, “fair winds and a following sea, and long may your big jib draw”.
L. Arby Humphrey