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You guys should read "Storm Tactics Handbook" by Lin and Larry Purdy (look for it on Amazon, I couldn't find it on SailNet). In this, they describe a method for heaving to, on almost any boat, as a method for riding out storms. They talk about a number of storms that they have survived in this way.
Of course, before heaving to in a large storm, you reduce sail (you probably would have already done that as the wind started to pick up). You would be on a second (or third) reef and the storm jib before doing this. They also recommend dragging a sea anchor from the forward, windward rail (near the bow) to assist.
You are right, that you would need enough sea room to do this. Also, I think that there is no "one size fits all (situations)" method.
Pearson 30 #182 "Blithe Spirit"