After searching way back, found the closest definition of heaving-to from older dictionaries based on commercial
sailing terms is; using any possible sail combination or sails
and sea-anchor to get your vessel to stop fore-reaching and lay relatively steady almost close-hauled.
Though the original writer posting
here says it seems like a lot of work, figuring out how to get his boat to heave-to, let me assure you, once you figure it out, it becomes quick and easy to put into practice. But, it is harder to get a boat to heave-to and not move forward in winds under gale force, than in stronger stuff.
We always drop our headsails to heave to in stormy winds, on our long keeled boat and also on some of the race
boats we've delivered. (Some of them need a small headsail to heave to well)
We've learned a useful trick for manuevering in relatively close quarters in lighter winds. We use a staysail and full mainsail
, tack over without letting the staysail sheet go, then in a hove-to like position, the boat's speed drops by more than half and we can jink around in full control while we choose the exact spot where we want to set our anchor
Good sailing, remember it's always about learning
new tricks. That's what makes it so rewarding.