ASA and PSIA Instructor
Join Date: Apr 2000
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Whether active steering in waves is a waste depends on how quick you want the boat to go. If you do not steer for the waves, the boat will start to do a lot of pounding and go very slow. To maintain speed and for a more comfortable ride, you want to turn up as the wave lifts the bow, then steer down (away from the wind) as the bow passes over the wave. I find that locating youself so you can easily see the oncoming waves is critical, sit to windward and use a tiller extension if a tiller - the kind with a handle is great for heavy weather.
If you get the motion down properly the boat will maintain momentum and your boat speed will be almost the same as in flat water. If you get it right, you should take very little water over the bow, and the boat should not pound. If the boat pounds, its a sign you are out of synch.