This is a great question, I really like you example of a forerunner, I didn't know that about ships, I haven't heard of that before. But it is a fitting example because Jesus is the forerunner in so many ways. A forerunner is one that goes ahead, and it also indicates that others will follow, and not only that others will follow but that the way is made clear, and safe, so others will be successful following the forerunner.
Here is some scripture that shows Jesus Christ as the forerunner:
Hebrews 6:17 Wherein God, willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath:
18 That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us:
19 Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil;
20 Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.
God was willing more abundantly ( I love this, more abundantly, the Lord showed us with so much more than what was necessary, an overflowing truth that we could know without a doubt Who He is, and what He said, and that we can have this rock solid faith in Him ) to show unto us, the heirs of promise ( all that are in Christ Jesus ) the immutability ( unchangeable, not capable of change, ) of His counsel confirmed it by an oath:
Malachi 3:6 For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.
Hebrews 13:8 Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.
That by two immutable ( unchangeable ) things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we may have a strong consolation, ( if we know that God never changes, but is the same always, and we know that it is impossible for God to lie, then we now have such a strong consolation, such comfort and such a rock solid foundation for us to believe, because if we know that He doesn't change, and it's impossible for God to lie, then we also know that what ever God says He will absolutely do, without fail. ) who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us; ( it is us as believers, as heirs to the promise, that have fled for refuge. Fled shows that we ran or turned away from the danger, sin and the things of the world, and even Hell; And for refuge shows that we seek shelter, protection a safe place from all of those things. " To lay hold upon the hope set before us " Praise God, to lay hold upon, shows something that is so real, so clearly seen that we can take hold or grab onto it. "The hope that is set before us", what is the riches of this hope? It is Christ Jesus that is our hope, and it is Him that we have our hope in, we have such precious promises in Him, we hope because we have heard the precious promises and know that God will do it, but our eyes haven't seen them come to pass as of yet, we are desiring a city not built by man, but one the Lord built, where the Lord is, and where we will also be; And we hope because we have not seen with our eyes, because what we see it is no longer hope, because we don't hope for what we have, but we know what God said is true so we patiently wait for it.
Colossians 1:26 Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints:
27 To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:
Romans 8: 24 For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for?
25 But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.
" Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil; " This hope that we have in the Lord is like an anchor for our soul, it is both sure ( certain, trustworthy, safe from harm ) and steadfast. ( Immovable, firmly fixed in place ) Hope is so vital to us as believers, and it is by this hope that we have in Christ Jesus that we enter into that inside the veil, this hope is how we draw closer to God.
Hebrews 7:19 For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God.
1 Peter 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
4 To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you,
5 Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
" Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec. " We see Jesus as the forerunner in this verse, He entered into that inside the the veil for us, He is the only One Who could have done this for us, and if He didn't prepare the way for us, ( He is the way , John 14:6 ) we couldn't enter into that inside of the veil, which is into the presence of God, into the throne of His mercy and grace, into the city of the Living God.
" That within the veil " refers to the Tabernacle in the Old Testament, it was a tent that was a sanctuary where the Lord would dwell among them, and where they would carry out their services to God, like prayers, offerings, and sacrifices.
Exodus 25:8 And let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them.
9 According to all that I shew thee, after the pattern of the tabernacle, and the pattern of all the instruments thereof, even so shall ye make it.
We see how the Lord spoke to Moses and instructed Moses to make it according to all that Lord had shown him. This is important because Moses seen the Heavenly things that these were to be patterned from, the things that was on earth, the Tabernacle was a shadow, or a reflection of the true Tabernacle in Heaven, and so was all of the ordinances and all things that was made for the Tabernacle an example, a shadow, a reflection of the Heavenly ones. If you think about how the Tabernacle was a tent, it was movable, and wasn't always in the same place, this showed that it wasn't the final one, if not the final one then there would be another one to come, it was just in place until the promise of Jesus Christ was fulfilled, which He did make the way for us to enter into the true sanctuary, the Holiest of all.
The Tabernacle was a tent, and inside of it was the table, candlestick, showbread and all things that they needed to carry out their daily service to the Lord, it was called the sanctuary, and inside of it was another one, that had a veil around it, it was called the Holiest of all. Inside of the Holiest of all was the Ark of the Covenant, which had the golden pot with manna inside, Aaron's rod that budded, and the tables of the Covenant; And sitting on the Ark of God was the mercyseat, which was made of pure gold, and had two cherubims ( angels ) which were made of gold, and their wings covered the mercy seat and their faces looked at one another and toward the mercyseat. ( Exodus 25 )
It was here that the Lord would meet with them and commune with them.
Exodus 25:22 And there I will meet with thee, and I will commune with thee from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubims which are upon the ark of the testimony, of all things which I will give thee in commandment unto the children of Israel.
The daily services, prayer, burning incense, offerings, and sacrifices were carried out daily in the first tabernacle, but into the holiest of all, ( that within the veil ) the high priest went in only once a year to offer sacrifice for his sin and for the sins of the people. This signified that the way into the Holiest of all was not yet made manifested while the first tabernacle was standing.
Hebrews 9:6 Now when these things were thus ordained, the priests went always into the first tabernacle, accomplishing the service of God.
7 But into the second went the high priest alone once every year, not without blood, which he offered for himself, and for the errors of the people:
8 The Holy Ghost this signifying, that the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest, while as the first tabernacle was yet standing:
It was Jesus Christ our High Priest, that offered Himself, the Lamb of God without blemish, to take away our sins, and to purge our conscience of dead works so that we can serve the Living God. And He entered into the Holiest of all for us, not the one in the earthly tabernacle but into Heaven itself and in the presence of God.
Hebrews 8:1 Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens;
2 A minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man.
Hebrews 9:11 But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building;
12 Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.
13 For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh:
14 How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?
15 And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.
Hebrews 9: 24 For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us:
Hebrews 10:19 Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus,
20 By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh;
21 And having an high priest over the house of God;
22 Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.
23 Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;)
So it is through Jesus Christ and what He has done for us that we can enter into the Holiest of all, and into the presence of God. I would like to share another one of my favorite verses, I hope all will prayerfully consider it, thanks for reading and thanks again for asking this.
Hebrews 12:22 But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels,
23 To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect,
24 And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel.
Praise God! I thank God that we can enter into the Holiest of all through the blood of Jesus.
with much love and sincerity in Christ,