I don't have one, or want one (masthead that is). I set sails based off of current conditions. If the boat (mono) is heeling past about 20 or so degrees, reduce sail. If it heels more, take more sail in.
I have a windex, but that just gives wind direction (more important than speed). I do have a little handheld wind unit that I pull out for a few seconds when the wind is piping up good, just for a rough reference though.
Yeah, I would "take my life in my hands". If you let that stop you from getting out, sell the boat. Like that candy bar commercial says "not going anywhere for awhile?"
Dictated, but not read.