Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: New Orleans
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Betty, trust the above advice, this is a lesson you *don't* want to learn the hard way. If you're right, you'll claw slowly offshore, but only after your blood pressure has risen about 50 points (assuming the wind hasn't also increased in synch), and you'll get away with it. If you don't, then you'll be slowly be set towards shore, and your only hope is that the weather lets up before you hit it. Whether you make it depends on the boat, on you, and on the sail choice and trim you've made. Some boats (and skippers) can make windward progress in 35 knots, some can't. But this isn't an exam you want to take in real life, the consequences of failure are too steep, not only for you and your boat, but also for the rescuers who will inevitably be called upon to try to save you in time.
So how to find out the answer to your very valid question? All I can suggest is to take a GPS with you, and if you ever get caught out in such conditions (which should only happen by accident and not by choice, trust me), and you have plenty of searoom to leeward, then note what your distance off shore is (or off your starting GPS position), then do your best to increase it. If you can, then you know your answer. If you can't, you know your answer as well, but you should have enough searoom to ride it out until the weather passes, without becoming a news item.
A lee shore is a serious concern. It's the primary reason why there are so many shipwrecks. But it's a good question. I hope this helps answer it.
Last edited by nolatom; 05-30-2008 at 12:15 AM.