Navigating Out of a Tight Spot

Destination and direction are more important than speed. As we all figure out what’s next after all the restrictions related to the pandemic called Covid-19, I am intrigued by a concept from the nautical world that has direction application to the time we’re living in.

Kedging offers a strategy for moving forward. Sail Magazine provides some history on kedging:
“The Royal Navy’s seamanship manual from 1904 describes kedging as a means for maneuvering large engineless ships in and out of tight harbors and tidal river entrances. Strapping young lads would take to the longboats and row out one of the ship’s smaller anchors in the direction they wanted to move the ship. They would then drop anchor when they ran out of cable, return to the ship and take up on the capstan to pull the ship up to the anchor, usually 600 feet or so at a time. It was a slow, hard process, but then again it was the only option, and they made it work.”

Note that this technique requires an anchor and rope and a large dose of human determination. I’ve always thought of the anchor for our lives as hope. In fact, in the book of Hebrews, it says, “We have this hope as an anchor for the soul.” We can apply a form of kedging to navigate into the next place as we recover from all of the unexpected obstacles posed in 2020. We can have hope and take courage that we can move forward. One rope length at a time.

We will have to go slowly and carefully – casting our vision to the next point before us. We are accustomed to big, powerful moves and it’s not the season for that. We like to have the big picture and be in control, and we are not able to see through the fog to be able to do that yet. But we can take action, making one decision at a time. We will get out of this treacherous place and be able to raise our sails and catch the wind again. Forward Ho!

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