Sea kayakers are, first and foremost, mariners. As such, it is important for us to understand and use nautical terms from a common perspective so that we can be mutually understood. Now and again confusion arises from improper use of the terms "lee shore", "in the lee', "windward (or weather) shore", and "to windward (or to weather)". Here are the definitions from Chapman: Piloting, Seamanship, and Small-Boat Handling: 1) Lee--the direction toward which the wind blows; an object sheltered from the wind is "in the lee". A lee shore is the coast lying in the direction toward which the wind is blowing. 2) Weather Shore--The coast lying in the direction from which the wind is blowing, as opposed to a lee shore. 3) Windward--The direction from which the wind is blowing.
It is clear from this that "weather" and "windward" are synonyms in these usages. It is also important that kayakers understand and use these terms in the context of being in the boat and on the water.
Every now and then one comes across misuses of these terms, and these lead to head-scratching and maybe serious confusion. In Randy Washburn's excellent book, "The Coastal Kayaker's Manual" (1989), he discusses practicing rough-water paddling (p. 118) along "windward shores", specifically referring to Gasworks Park on Lake Union in Seattle, on days with southerly winter gales. Clearly, the Gasworks Park shoreline, which lies at the northern end of open water on Lake Union, is a lee shore during southerly winds. Washburn goes on to tell the reader to "look for windward shores where you and your boat will be washed onto a hospitable shore such as a beach."
Similarly, in a fine recent article about the Bulldog Onshore Assisted Rescue on Sea Kayaking Dot Net, the author repeatedly refers to the coast upon which the wind is blowing, the waves are breaking, and the paddlers being driven, as a windward coast when it is clearly a lee coast or shore. Let us be clear. From the perspective of an observer in a boat, on the water, a lee shore during heavy winds and rough wind-driven waves is a dangerous place to be, and is to be avoided. Conversely, a weather or windward shore in such conditions is a relatively safe and sheltered place to be in a boat, as one will be "in the lee" of the shore, sheltered from the wind.
I conclude by directing kayakers' attention to their well-worn copies of Moby Dick, Chapter 23, "The Lee Shore", where Herman Melville makes abundantly clear the dangers associated with a lee shore, (and thereby why it is so important to distinguish a lee from a weather or windward shore.