In pursuit of accuracy ...
Ships and sailing, and a post featuring a trip to the Portsmouth UK Historical Dockyard and the HMS Victory, is still in the works but wanted to post this, as it caught me off-guard.
Pursuing an 1816 etymologically correct phrase for 'a fruitless pursuit,' I found:
Origin Of 'Wild Goose Chase'
It's believed that this phrase's origin is rooted in some type of 16th century horse racing. Apparently, back then, a "wild goose chase" was a horse race in which the lead rider would be pursued by other riders, which is said to be similar to how geese flying in a formation will follow the one in the lead. However, the rules and details of this sort of race don't seem to be very clear; the opinions on it vary.
This phrase was used in a figurative way by William Shakespeare in the play Romeo and Juliet, believed to have been written in 1594 or 1595:
"Nay, if thy wits run the wild-goose chase, I have done, for thou hast more of the wild-goose in one of thy
wits than, I am sure, I have in my whole five: was I with you there for the goose?"
KYPhrase: the Meaning and Origins of Phrases, - https://www.knowyourphrase.com/
How many of you expected this to be about chasing geese? Fascinating. Not at all what what I expected.