It looked to me that it was essentially making no headway and being trashed to port and then starboard.
No, it clearly is making headway. Looks like chop in the 8 to 10 ft. range. You can keep the drogue in the locker for this stuff. Might be the worst thing you could do though there are a lot of other things as bad. A serious PITA to steer in. You are wrestling the wheel
constantly. It appears to be going slightly off a beam reach and falling off. With chop like this he appears to be flying as much sail as practical. No one surfs 15 - 20 in this chop without a very very long water line. More like less than half that speed at the peak slowing to maybe 3 knots.
The high wave frequency is exceptionally difficult to maintain a constant speed. You speed up and cut through then crash a few times and slow to almost nothing and then start to round up or fall off. The danger
in rounding up is it sets up the broach easily with the severe decrease in speed. You can tend to run with it a bit but the stern always is falling one way then the next. You over correct and you are rounded up. This is the kind of stuff you find with strong winds and a counter tide or current
. It usually happens when you have a specific course to maintain and can't just go with it.
I've seen stuff like this but a bit less crossing the mouth Potomac
. It was 6 to 8 ft chop in 35 knots gusting to 40. The long fetch with a counter tide sets up this kind of pattern but a few feet less in height. Once we crossed the waves dropped 2 more feet and the 4 to 6 ft waves in the same wind
were far easier. Even that isn't easy.
At 8 to 10 ft this stuff above is as bad as I would ever want to even see on video. The high frequency changes everything when dealing with chop. This frequency is several seconds apart.