Takes awhile to handle any boat. A following sea can take hold of your boat and cause the boat to do rapid speed down the waves off a quarter or down wind direction. In seas you described that's only a min. change and easy to correct once wave goes thru.
Seas in 4-5 ft. following you need to go with the flow and if not breaking surf them, if breaking and short distance it's best to take them 30 degrees off the quarter and round up at bottom of trough.
Downwind can be very welcome if you know how to sail and I love it in 20 knots of wind with jib reefed 4 turns and poled out with a whisker adjustable pole.
!5 knots ,full main and pole out the full Jib.
This probably doesn't mean much to you...but it will after you know your boat.
island808 wrote:I have, but my experience is nil. It would be nice if i had an experienced friend to come out with me and correct my actions. Im going to hit up some reading.
Looks like i was right in my technique and failed in my execution / SA after reading up on it.
Tried to go directly downwind, but that wouldnt get me home.
I just chose to, or got pushed to turn at the exact wrong time. Apparently downwind on rough seas just sucks. Slow or Heave to is the advice given by the internet.
So, question might better be, how do i cut across the wind. I figure tacking up then turning back.