As soon as we got under tow around 0900 we realized that, as expected, the conditions aboard Zulu were going to be very rough while we were towed back through the Gulf Stream. The Captain of the cutter decided the conditions were too rough to run with the wind and waves and we were now going to steam north into the wind and waves back to Norfolk instead. We were only able to make about 3 knots SOG and with about 400 feet of towline between us and the cutter, three to four waves would stack up between us and the cutter and our bow would be pulled over, across, or through the massive waves. Zulu is a very solid sailboat at 54 feet in length, drawing 9ft, and displacing nearly 40,000 pounds, but that did not stop the boat from violently crashing into waves, punching into crests sending a wall of water over the deck, and being hit by breaking whitewater spinning the boat like a top, all before the towline went taught and we were pulled into the face of another wave. Initially Nate and I had been taking turns in the cockpit keeping watching and getting soaked by waves coming over the bow and over the side into the cockpit. I was so impressed with the pounding we were taking I thought it was only a matter of time before the towline snapped or the mast broke.