After having carefully studied the replies of my antipodean friends Bill and Lachlan, I have to conclude that they have no real objection--they cannot have any real objection (who could?)--to the idea of knowing what the wind speed is, really. But they, personally, can live without knowing it, and so could I. But why should I? They choose not to consider carrying an anemometer out on the water with them; I choose to do so. (I have a compass on my boat, too, though I could probably do without it.)
But as I obviously failed to make crystal-clear in my initial post, some paddlers do go out onto water in perfectly ordinary windy conditions thinking that they are paddling in "30- or 40-knot" winds and think they're doing just fine, because the weather report for that day said the winds would be 30 or 40 knots. And so they are led to believe, erroneously, that it's OK for them to consider paddling in 30- or 40-knot winds (and maybe lead others into paddling with them), when the truth may be that an anemometer would have told them that it was REALLY blowing just 15 or 20 knots. That's my point. It's better to know, and it's easy to know, how hard the wind is blowing, really.