Storms at Sea

Excerpt from Sunday lesson by Dick Elam, circa January 1983

I know something of storms at sea. We were sailing in the Neuse River with shores less than a mile away. Ten mile winds, threatening clouds, but no rain. So gentle that our eight-year old grandson steered our boat, following the wake of a sailboat about 50 yards ahead.

Then the thunderstorm struck. Taking the helm, we sent our grandson below. Driving rain swept across us. The boat sailing ahead of us faded into a gray silhouette. Then the rain quickened and the boat disappeared.

I steered into the storm to avoid broaching. My wife took a compass reading of 300 degrees. I fought the tiller to keep the boat moving. The boat heeled, then righted, then heeled, then righted. The wind rose to 25 knots with gusts hitting 30 miles.

I held into the wind, safer than turning broadside. But the wind veered and we saw the compass swing from 300 to 30 degrees. We couldn’t see the northern shore which lay ahead in the rain. Then the wind switched. We rounded back into the wind, heeled, righted.   And then the rains quit. The winds dropped to 20 miles and the storm passed.

There’s a song I think about when I find myself in a storm:

When you walk through a storm, hold your head up high

And don’t be afraid of the dark.

At the end of the rain, there’s a golden light,

And the sweet, singing song of a lark.

Walk on through the storm. Walk on through the rain.

And you’ll never walk alone

Carousel, Rodgers and Hammerstein