Still, it seems strange that you'd heave to with main only as that seems to put the majority of the pressure at the stern of the boat - leading to more weather helm potential.
When reefing to with reefed mainsail alone you have to adjust the mainsheet and tiller until the keel and sails stall before the boat can tack.
My experience is that the boat oscillates back and forth within a narrow angle. When it falls off the wind it starts to sail a bit, and weather helm immediately causes it to point a few degrees higher. This begins to stall the sail and keel, and it falls off again, and repeats.
With some boats in really strong winds you also need a parachute drogue or else the boat will pick up too much speed during the offwind part of the oscillation, and sail out of the turbulence slick.
My Catalina 22 will fore-reach at 2-3 knots in a 30 knot wind hove-to with a single reefed mainsail, so I probably need a deeper reef and/or a drogue. With a jib up it falls off and gybes, just like Don's boat. Still, being hove to at 3 knots is a lot nicer than running before the wind at 7 knots, with a 5.9 knot hull speed.