Great thread with great options and comments about tethering and hand-holding mainsheets. Just chiming in with experiences at Lake Mead, Nevada, probably one of the puffiest lakes (besides Clear Lake, Iowa) I've seen anywhere. Also, passing on some hints from those champions I've spent time with in clinics.
Firstly, this sailor has gone to the Wave as the only cat he'll sail recreationally and race in the foreseeable future. The last 4 months of sailing several times a week here at Lake Mead has made it clear that the Wave can handle all sailable conditions, until the winds get over 30 and then, as gusts are often 15 over the prevailing wind of the day, it is time to get back to the slip. Having been caught in 50 kt breezes, capsizing, dismasting and floating to a lee shore, rerigging and sailing back once, can say that the boat is far easier to deal with in breeze than any other. Have watched the bigger cats stay at the beach because too much wind, while the Wave is out tearing it up. All being said, she does want to run away if you fall off her.
As always a good PFD and wet suit/spray top over in cool air is first.
To paraphrase a quote by Aussie Gavin Colby (2 time H16 World Champion) - 'I only cleat if I want to pitch my boat'.
Learning to hand hold without cleating is essential to becoming a better and safe sailor or racer. Cleating, then uncleating before releasing takes too long to catch that 'Poltergust' before it knocks you over. Have been hand holding since 2005, and can say the added benefit is you get some great guns in the biceps. If you race, hand holding the main sheet gives you superior ability to adjust the mainsail as you can feel varying pressure on the course. Another quote from Gavin chastising those who cleat was the question ' and are you a warm shower taker?' You know, surfers and catsailors are always taking cold showers at the beach.
On the other side of the coin, I believe tethering on a Wave is also the way to go and I do it, especially in heavy air, cool conditions. Not only do you not loose the boat to rocky shoals, but you slow it down considerably, nearly to a stop. It is considerably different than the fiberglass cats. It sails much like a 14 and weighs about the same, but has less sail area with 9 square meters. I tie my 20 ft righting line around my waist.
Next, keep close eye on standing rigging for any sign of wear and if so, replace before you sail again. Also, pins and ringy dingies in particular must be taped or covered with a boot, as sailing gear can rip them out and dismast you (even breaking the mast). Standing rigging should be snug enough that the mast cannot jump off the step! That happened to me and it was disconcerting, to say the least (first day out in breeze on a Wave).
The Wave is difficult to capsize if you rake the mast with the 10 hole chainplate (in 10-15k flat water it took me 4 tries to get it to pitch). This is true of other cats as well. The mast's weight is born aft and helps prevent pitching forward. The Wave also sails better with the sailpower focused more aft on the skegs and rudders. The rudders start to act more like daggerboards during a tack as well.