I just came across this thread. I am not even going to try and act like a tough guy, this is some scary stuff here!
Anyway, I have never had my boat in any kind of bad weather but I can see how this happens. From my experiences as a power boater, many times that weather will change QUICK. Someone said a power boater usually will just run from the weather, well that is correct. When I was with my dad, as soon as we seen dark gray clouds developing, we would hit full throttle back to the launch. Just this past Saturday, I was out with a friend and the weather was kind of unpredictable. It looked dark in the north as soon as we got out. I kept an eye on it and turned on my VHF. At the moment, there was only a light chop and winds just over 10kts. Then we got a slight drizzle and I started to wonder if things were going to pick up. We were not even 1/2 mile from the harbor, I stood nearby just in case. So I was NOT going to bring my boat back to the marina only to see the sun pop out and turn into a nice day. I decided to stay out and just incase we got some super strong out of nowhere winds, I dropped all sails and put the anchor down. We went below decks to stay dry until the drizzle stopped. Then, that was the extent of it. This got me to wondering many "what ifs", common sense told me to get the sails down and drop anchor. This was fine in our situation but it could have became ugly if the waves would have kicked up a lot. Good thing for us, it remained a light chop and the rain drizzle stopped within 15 min. Right now I only sail on Lake Ponchartrain, I can only get in so much trouble out there but it is a large lake and still should always be respected. Once when a hurricane was near, it looked like a storm in the north sea! Many boaters lost their lives in that lake through the years. Just recently, one person was killed on memorial day weekend in Ponchartrain, then a few others in the smaller Lake Maurepas. These were not from weather, but just boating accidents in general, none sailboats.
This all said, I have a really good kayaking story I can share here if anyone is interested. I am still a kayaker and was doing that a year before I got into sailing. My kayaking story is probably scarier then alanr77 sailing story here and even more unbelieveable. Just put it this way, I thought I would never see my 40th birthday. This happened to me Saturday Oct 17th, 2009, my personal date which will live in infamy, I will never forget that day.