As any marathon swimmer knows, it is often hard to swim straight, so course corrections are constant as you gauge your distance from the boat. In our case, swimming close to the boat was difficult because it was terrifying. The pilot boat is 40 feet long and is a sturdy fishing boat. As the Sea Satin pitched around in the waves, I was looking at it from the water level and made it feel like it was about to fall on me. My choice was to stay close to the boat (and let the boat absorb some of the pounding of the waves) and be terrified, or keep my distance from the boat and take the full brunt of the waves myself. I kept my distance, but I will dream about that boat pitching and rolling for a long time.