In large swells, where your boat falls off the crests, you can achieve a smoother ride by bearing off a few points instead of hitting the crests head-on. Crossing on a diagonal keeps more of your hull supported as you go over the crest, allowing the boat to ride, rather than fall, down the back side. This technique costs time, since you'll be zigging and zagging. But a longer, softer ride often beats a shorter, rougher one. In the end, you'd likely slow down anyway, making time loss a nonissue.