to the wind
means drunk, obviously, and the prevalent opinion is that it refers to a sheet ie line coming loose of its cleat or winch
thus allowing the sail to flap about (as a drunk might)... but there is an alternate explanation having to do with heaving to, specifically that the harder the wind
blows, the more sails
you want to backfill i.e. sheet to the wind to stay in hove-to, and the more vulnerable to knockdown on account of all the sail up. What do you think?