Originally Posted by taildragerdrive
This is interesting.
Last fall I and a friend went to the Bahamas
and we were the only ones who was out sailing in 25 to 30 kt winds. My boat sails
very well in those conditions and it is really fun. We were virtually alone at sea and often got comments when we sailed into a harbor.
I of course have sailed her in 40 kt winds and felt comfortable. I have the experience and confidence in sailing in those winds. I'm glad we do it periodically because I continue to feel comfortable and a periodic refresher is good. I would not go out in predicted winds greater than 25 but as in this case it turned out to be 25 to 30 rather than 20 to 25.
So I think it depends on the boat and depends on the crew. I do think it is useful to up you game
rather just sit in port is if wind is predicted over 15kts. If any of us do a longer passage
it can occur that winds get above the predicted level.
So I agree if your not comfortable with your skills and your boat stay in the harbor. But I am a believer in the concept
of pushing you personal envelope in sailing as well as flying. As I have often heard it is usually the crew that fails not the boat. Just making the analysis is part of expanding your skill level.
I think you are confusing cruising with sailing for fun. My reading of the OP question was "should we head
out with a cruisings destination
in mind - somewhere we want to go as a leg in an extended voyage when there are biggish seas at short periods and more wind than is useful?"
As opposed to "the wind is blowing and the seas are up - should we go for a sail?"
As a cruiser - my answer is "you are in no hurry to get somewhere so why subject yourself and your boat to the stress of 9' short period waves - wait for better cruising weather
If you are a fulltime liveaboard
cruiser it is a hard and time consuming to put everything away and get the interior
shipshape for rough weather.
I was a hard core
for decades before I became a cruiser. For the first five years I owned our current
cruising boat I took her out in several storm force events
, dozens of full gales, and probably 50 small craft events
As a "fun sailor" I loved to take our cruiser out for a day of 8 knot sailing, and 10-knot surfing in six-foot waves. The boat handles it easily and well and I was a very experienced helmsman who was used to driving in 40-knots and 10' seas. I outfitted our 40' cutter
with a Code 0, a big spinnaker
, three staysails, and a trysail. I have used all those in more wind than they were intended for, (except fortunately the trysail and storm jib), and have hove to in 40+ knots several times, just for practise.
has sailed the boat downwind with the chute up in 8' seas and 35-knot gusts for hours. But, that was before it became our full time cruising home. It is our home and breaking stuff, especially in remote
areas, is a real PITA!
Knowing the boat and captain
have easily handled big seas and winds and had fun doing it gives us great confidence as cruisers. But, it also makes it easy for us to wait for easier conditions when out cruising.
The first promise my wife demanded when we bought our current
cruisers, after being around hard core
racers for 20-years, was "No racing
- no racing
equipment" and my answer was "Of course Dear!"
We have, during our long term cruising
, enjoyed many 30-knot days and several 50-knot days, (and nights), but, if at all possible try hard to avoid them.
And, on some legs of our cruising I did head
out with gales forecast
because I knew, for absolutely sure, that the sea state would stay benign and there were no potential hazards on the route
. I once did a 120 NM single
handed overnight where I was counting on 35-knot gusts with a steady 25-knot wind to rush me along on a close reach. But, that was straight offshore
wind where I would be no more than 3-miles out and there would be almost zero chance of other boats being out there. It was a hoot but also a special occasion due to the course being close to shore and guaranteed offshore
But, now as a cruising captain
on a full time liveaboard
boat, I seldom venture out in anything more than Small Craft Advisories. We have too much "stuff" in our full time liveaboard home to make to comfortable for hard core sailing.
And, I suspect that is what the OP had in mind.
If Not - then ignore the verbal droolings of an old race
hand turned liveaboard cruiser.