A rudder is a very small part of a boat. It is tiny compared to the tall sails and amounts to only a fraction of the size of the keel, but big things often come in small packages.
As you just read, without a rudder, and with a storm bearing down on us, we were in serious trouble. We ended up in a little bay, thirty miles from the nearest village. It took two days to patch together a new rudder from hatch boards, duct tape, lashings, and a pair of aluminum oar handles.
The rudder may be a very small part of your boat, but it has great power. James, the brother of Jesus, compared our tongues to the rudder of a boat:
For we all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body. If we put bits into the mouths of horses so that they obey us, we guide their whole bodies as well. Look at the ships also: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. (James 3:2-5).
Many people might have given up on sailing after an experience like ours, but together, Jan and I made it back to Puerto Penasco (“Rocky Point”).
Since this was Jan’s first long trip, I was afraid it would be our last. (Not only did we lose the rudder, we lost two anchors and ended up hard aground in the middle of a giant mud flat at low tide!) Jan didn’t let it curb her enthusiasm. As we limped back to Rocky Point, she looked at me with a big smile and declared, “John, I love you, but we’re going to need a bigger boat.”