Paddling on a windy day

I couldn’t help myself. The wind was blowing hard in the direction I wanted to go. So off I went! Problem is, I had to come back! But I knew that ahead of time. and still did it. The paddle back was 3 miles with the wind in my face and waves breaking across my deck.

We’ve all done long slogs against wind. Its kind of fun to be over with. Fortunately my primary boat likes heading into the wind and wave.

Mine does too, but most 18 foot boats do.

We were out one day and the wind 10 to 15 rose up to 20 with gusts above 30 , storm moved in. Stopped me in my tracks till the gust stopped.

Must have been a fun ride out, Andy.

Did that off Edisto Beach in my Tarpon. The area is called the Washing Machine for good reason. A river flows in just past the beach.
We probably didn’t go downwind more than a mile and it was a great ride.
Coming back was the hardest I’ve ever paddled. I pulled a groin muscle that bothered me for months.
The next day we paddled 20 miles on the Edisto River . A gentle cruise by comparison.

My number one rule of thumb is from shore looking out at conditions, double it for what it looks like. Then maybe double it again if current is a factor. I have encountered situations where it was better to tack and take the waves at an angle instead of head on, because of the crashing off the tops of the waves and constant dumping on the foredeck. In a shorter boat, the crashing isn’t so much a problem, but then you’re probably not making any headway either.

Where I paddle most of the time, you have to plan on at least half of the trip is going to be against the wind and the current. It’s part of the deal, but I cheat.

If the wind blows from shore and the sea looks too smooth… it lies
Check your tide table. A smooth sea can happen on a outgoing five feet an hour dropping tide and a 30
mph wind
You’ll get out and not return
Plenty of people have found that out the hard way. Some are found clinging to bouys. others on islands 20 miles away
Some can wait it out though it can take hours for the tide to run hard enough the other way

Similarly, you can get stuck on a mud flat for several hours by not knowing how to time your trip with the tides.