Thanks, guys, for this discussion of the Beaufort scale.
ONE of the things I personally really like about the Beaufort scale, and I think it underpins everything all have said here, is that it is based on CONDITIONS...whatever the number on the windspeed dial really does not matter that much at the end of the day.
I also like the old system in use by the old square riggers, before Beaufort. Conditions were described as "topsail breeze," "close reefed topsail breeze," etc. That is, it was VERY practical and based on what the ship needed.
It's nice to look at a weather forecast and think, "oh, 20 knots, if I go out today, I'll need to reef the main," but really, I think this comes by intuition pretty quickly no matter the number.
The best analogy I can think of for what I am trying to say is music...when reading music, it does not really matter if the little dot means an "A" note or a "C" note or whatever...the label makes no difference...so long as the note is played correctly. "This dot means you push this key," for example.
The label is good for communicating with others, just like, "Oh, I was out in 20 knots the other day..." but really, "sailing along with reefed main and working jib" does the same thing and works, for me anyway, at a much more "organic" level.
Beaufort is like this (to me)...it's 'simpler' scale makes a very intuitive picture of the conditions and I can much more easily imagine what *I'd* be doing...F7 brings to mind specific experiences, F5 others, F2 still others. With the windspeed numbers, I always seem to have to translate a few ways first, THEN get to the "oh yeah, I know what that's like" mode.
Again, not arguing with any other points...just dicussin'.