You have waves and swells and then the wind conditions and of course what size and type of boat were you in when you had to deal with them.
My biggest waves encountered with Shiva, a 36' sloop
, were enormous swells of more than 30' and of course very long and accompanied by 10 knot
winds. It was like sailing through a landscape of gently rolling hills. This was actually a really enjoyable experience with flying fish
coming out of the hills of water
streaming across the valleys and re entering another hill. This was in the Atlantic south of Bermuda and north of the Caribbean
. Try it you'll like it.
Now the bad stuff was in the Gulf Stream
between LI and Bermuda in the Summer after a gale has made its way north riling up the seas. These babies were well over 15' with the occasional 20 footer or more and they were steep and breaking.
This was extremely scary and when one broke in front of us (I don't recall
one crashing on our deck)... it sent a wall of water which 2 times swept a harnessed crew member
from the cockpit overboard
. They were both retrieved. Everyone on board was seasick, but the boat suffered no gear
failures. And this was the single
thing about this awful experience which gave me hope that we would make it through these conditions. The boat took it all like water off a duck's back, we were only steering
, or trying to, to avoid sailing into one these monsters. And we were largely successful. I don't know how well we would have done if it did. I don't want to find out.
All I can say is ICK.