SmackD, most lakes and bays are relatively shallow and cannot sustain larger seas - relatively small waves break or just become nasty chop . The Gulf, out beyond the 20-fathom line, and many other bluewater venues are deep enough to sustain the weight of quite large waves - they can build up without breaking. In the Gulf 5-7 foot seas are pretty much entry level and make for very comfortable sailing - particularly on a broad reach. Anything up to about 18-20 foot seas just whoooosh under you - and give you a little uuumph forward.
In both of the Force 10 storms we've been endured in the Gulf, with seas 28-30, the high winds blew spume off the tops of the waves, but they still didn't break. The only time the seas got ugly was near the end of the storms because the northerly wind driving the seas was subsiding as the prevailing SE wind was filling back in and the seas were mucho confused for several hours.
s/v Paloma, Bristol 29.9, #141
Slipped in Bahia Marina, easy access to Corpus Christi Bay and the Gulf of Mexico.
Last edited by johnshasteen; 09-09-2009 at 06:28 PM.