photo credit: http://www.sailing-cruising.com

Jessica Watson was a 16-year-old Australian girl with a big dream: to be the youngest person to circumnavigate the globe unassisted. That means sailing a 34-foot (10.23 m) long sailboat for nearly seven-months. SOLO. No stops along the way to restock provisions. No pulling into port for repairs.

Among the many challenges she faced were waves up to 40 feet (12 m) high.

In the Atlantic, the boat rolled over four times during one storm. The third wave had me worried — I got picked up 180 degrees upside down and then thrown into the trough of another wave. It kind of makes you think: How big must that wave have been to do that? There wasn’t a lot I could do, in a situation like that, except hunker down, hold on to anything and everything, and stand on the ceiling.

Jessica Watson, in the National Geographic article linked below


I’m not a sailor, but I DO understand what being turned 180 degrees upside down — literally head over heels! — means… and it’s terrifying! Once the mast pushed 180 degrees into the water it set off an emergency beacon signaling that the boat sank.

In the Netflix movie “True Spirit” that topsy-turvy event seemed to last forever! But I discovered that Jessica said, “The 15 ft. underwater is real because my emergency beacon did self-activate as the boat sank. That happened. But the time I was upside down for, it certainly felt like a long time. I haven’t really got a concept of how long it was in reality, but we are talking seconds compared to what we see in the movie, which stretches on forever in minutes and minutes and minutes. That’s a little bit of an exaggeration there, but it was real to the experience of it feeling like forever.” (https://www.historyvshollywood.com/reelfaces/true-spirit/)

So… what’s all this have to do with drogues? and what are they anyway?

A drogue is a device that looks a bit like a parachute. It is similar to an anchor (which fixes a boat in place), but is used to control speed and stabilize one’s course — kind of like putting your boat in “park.” In the movie, when faced with monster waves, Jessica chose to use a drogue to keep her yacht upright while more-or-less riding the waves as a surfer would. This kept her from being 180 degrees upside down again!

…. and what’s all this have to do with the Christian life?!?

I started thinking about “drogues” in my life — things God may have allowed to slow me down, to stabilize me in the midst of daily living. In the midst of the storms of life. Things like getting behind a slower-than-molasses-in-January driver to make me more attentive when my mind is pre-occupied and not paying attention to the road. Or not getting an email response when I thought I should have — and then seeing later how that kept me from responding prematurely (and ususally incorrectly!) to other related emails.

Or when we learned that we were unable to have children of our own. That threw a wrench in our plans… definitely slowed us down. And yet the lessons we learned as we waited upon God for His perfect timing to provide children through adoption — I wouldn’t trade those lessons for anything! Especially how it helped me redefine how I viewed God (something I’ll save for a later blog)…

And then there have been numerous times in our marriage when we’ve been in prolonged waiting mode. A drogue that can be confusing, perplexing, frustrating, maddening… and yet inevitably, once we’re on the other side of the waiting, there’s been clarity and thankfulness.


When God brings drogue-like situations into our lives, it helps to have others who can come alongside us and remind us to keep hanging in there! As Jessica Watson experienced, her boat finally righted itself. She survived being upside down — submerged — in turbulent seas. She also had family and friends who were cheering her along via email and satellite communications.

We may sometimes need to use a drogue, other times an anchor. Jesus Himself is the anchor of my soul, the firm and secure One I can cling to (see Hebrews 6:19)!

Whatever storm(s) you may be facing right now, my prayer is that God will make Himself real to you and that you can see how very much He loves and cares for you. You aren’t alone! And together… may we have joy in the journey of this thing called “Life!”

2 thoughts on “Drogues???”

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