Originally Posted by NewportNewbie
I took my boat out tonight with the previous owner and his wife...they are friends of ours. We were on motor and sailed out of the harbor around sunset to see the seals and porpoise. We hit about 6-10 foot swells and the previous owner went to the front of the boat stood on the deck and "caught air" as he left his feet when the boat bobbed up and down. He was having fun. I was on the tiller freaking out. My wife was as well...asking me if I was steering properly..lol. Obviously the previous owners were very used to it. They didn't flinch. They said under sail it would smooth that out a bit and counter the motion. How do I or will I ever be comfortable in conditions like that? When should I be worried about those conditions? Is this just an experience thing?
Read a lot of heavy weather books and discussions on forums. Learn, at least mentally, the tactics and techniques that the salts use in rough stuff. Then gear up and gradually go out in bigger and bigger conditions and practice these - especially with a salt if you can find one. Stay on the conservative side of the conditions - and be liberal with the applications of what you've learned (i.e. - "over protect") to make sure you're safe. You'll learn a TON and you'll get far more comfortable far more quickly.
Just be smart and keep sailing. And, like you say, crew every chance you get.