A cruiser's perspective:
Stay on the windward (tack) side of the mark for as long as you can hold it and go for speed, if you have the water.
Then you can reach to the final mark.
I go for as few tacks as possible for; the boat speed; physical energy etc etc. A few months ago, I sailed a few hundred miles on the same tack down the Queensland coast. I used this philosophy to stay close to the reef side of the course, giving myself searoom if needed. At one point it was needed and I was happy I had a few miles to play with.
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