A variant on the "avoidance" and "its the waves that matter" themes in the thread ... don't know your experience level so no offence if this seems basic to you:
Part of avoidance is to understand how wind
interact, so you can stay out of bad wave action when winds are high.
against tide situations when you can (creates short, sharp chop). Give major headlands a wider berth than normal (accelerate winds, and often concentrate currents). Know your area / read the cruising guides
, and when possible time your passages e.g. so you go through the worst areas at slack water
. Read the charts
, and anticipate worse wave action around marked rips and anywhere the water
shallows rapidly. Avoid confused currents.
When safe to do so, travel downwind of land, islands, sandbanks, etc to take some heat out of the sea conditions. I hove to one night in Storm 10 behind well lit rocks, with safe bearings etc. While it was a fierce storm (wave tops ripped off by the wind), it was calm for the conditions. With more reliable forecasts, you can often avoid such situations today.
And give lee shores plenty of room. You loose options as you close the shore, particularly if seas kick up as it shallows.
In heavy weather
avoid bars you are unfamiliar with, particularly when coming in from the seaward
side as you often will not see how bad it really is until you are almost committed to crossing. Time your tides.
planning and tactics makes a huge difference in marginal conditions. But do not push things too hard, too soon. Regardless of how much we think we know (the sea can be a cruel teacher), there is always a point when discretion is far better than valour. Particularly if we / our crew are susceptible to motion sickness.
One sick, scared or miserable person makes for a pretty miserable ship.
Talk to your crew; keep them informed and reassured. As needed, give firm, clear instructions on matters of safety
of person and the ship.
Put in a trip report by VHF
. Wear the right gear
. Carry the right gear
. Stow carefully. Tie on. Anticipate problems. Enjoy the ride.