Originally Posted by johnshasteen
When I say heavy weather, I'm not talking about 30 knot winds and 15-20 foot seas - I mean full gale, 50-60+ knot winds, 30+ foot seas - if you and your boat aren't prepared for that, don't venture very far afield
It is my considered opinion that nothing can prepare you for the first time you're in full charge of your own boat and you come up on deck in a shrieking 60 knot wind and see breaking 30 foot waves stretching from horizon to horizon.
Baptism by fire is the only way you'll experience this because no sucker is going to take you out in such conditions for a mentoring session and when you get into such conditions, you'll learn real fast the first time or you'll not get the opportunity again.
I had sailed for many years before I experienced the described conditions and when I did, it scared the cr@p out of me but I managed and I survived and next time I won't be as scared and I'll manage better. I sincerely hope the next time takes as long to come around as the first one did.
One absolute constant in ocean sailing - when you're out there, you deal with whatever gets chucked at you and interestingly, most of us survive. Learn whatever you can from the books that are available because it'll all help but the final lesson is a practicle one that can only be gained from your own experience.