Originally Posted by barnakiel
...So we think the highest waves and strongest winds may be less dangerous than a less dynamic but more perplexed weather
A strong front overtook us on a passage
from Virginia to BVI, with winds in the 45 kt range. After a day or so, the swells had built to around 24' and the wave period lengthened. We were surfing down the swells at up to 11 knots with just 1/3 of the 110% headsail rolled out. Fantastic sailing!
On the other hand, coming back from Bermuda
to Virginia, we were in heavy squalls for three days straight, the last 12 hours being in the Gulf Stream
. The winds were 35-40 kts, but varied up to 50 kts in gusts, and from different directions as we sailed through the squalls. Lightning
was all around. The seas were only 14-16' max, but were confused and steep. A wave would sometimes come out of nowhere and run the length of the cabin
top or try to come into the cockpit
. We couldn't use the autopilot
due to the crazy yawing induced by the waves.
The physical effort and stress of steering
day and night in those conditions made it a very difficult passage
. Especially since one crew was injured and couldn't steer, one was very, very seasick and could only steer poorly, and the other was inexperienced in offshore
sailing and not very comfortable at the wheel
in those conditions.
I'll take the stronger, steady winds and big, regular swells on the quarter any time!