Along that line V, I just read a short National Geographic article about the '75(?) Fastnet race that ended in disaster. Did you see that one? I think there is a book or two on it also. I would also like to add to my post above that I am not condoning disregarding build quality.
Fastnet Force 10 by none other than John Rousmaniere is the book in question (it was 1979). Read that book, Rescue in the Pacific and Heavy Weather Sailing and you've got a lot of decent information for the first time you run into 40 knots or better at sea (Hal Roth is good, too).
I am less emamoured of the Pardeys' and the Dashews' advice, because I think they are at opposite ends of the spectrum in terms of the boats they sail, and most boats are between the two (although mine is more Pardeyesque, I suppose, being a full keeler).