I am very surprised at the 90-deg to the wind that you experience. Agree, that is not going to be desirable. Yes, my boat hove to ~45-deg (or less) off the wind.
I have a Macgreggor 26x, very light, high freeboard. So when the winds go over 15 it's time to think about going home. That said, any changes to sails can be instantly seen, so I'll throw my $.02 in. As you bring the boom closer to center, the main gets more drive and the rudder brings the boat closer to the wind. I sheet about 30 degrees boom to center.
If you're 90 to the wind the main is out too far.