Originally Posted by Knot Yet
Just a quick question as I often find reading the weather confusing!!
Can you have a high wind with a slight sea state - so for example I've felt that until we are confident and used to the new toy then a F3/4 is more than enough to play in - however tomorrow we have F5 forecast for later in the day but with a slight sea state - hence my confusion as you can also have a slight sea state on a F3
While sea state is primarily cause by wind there are a number of factors to take into consideration. Direction, changes, consistency, landmasses, duration and tide/current.
I am not sure from your profile where you are from so will use Brighton as an example. You could have a strong Northerly wind but as the beach is in the lee of the land the inshore waters would be reasonably calm compared with the more common South Westerly where the waves have had some distance (fetch) to build up.
Changing wind directions cause confused seas, i.e. if it has been blowing steady from one direction and set up a regular wave pattern the seas will become confused if it starts blowing hard from another direction.
Be aware that in offshore winds it can be flat inshore but as you go further offshore the sea state builds. As you are looking downwind you don't appreciate the full effect until you turn back into the wind and as you have to go upwind to get back its harder work on you and the boat to get home.
When wind strengthens quickly there is a delay before the sea state builds up, likewise if it has been blowing hard and constant from 1 direction there is a delay from when the wind eases to when the sea state calms down again.
As you are no doubt aware wind vs. tide increases sea state and wind with current/tide reduces it. It therefore figures that spring tides against wind can increase sea state considerably.
Where about's are you ribbing and launching from?