It probably doesn't need to be mentioned, but heaving-to is a useful tactic in many situations. It's not just a storm tactic. Some folks have mentioned heaving-to while waiting for the sun to come up to enter a harbor.
I use it all the time to stop for lunch if I have room, rather than anchor.
If we get a fish on, I'll heave-to.
In less than storm tactics, I'll always furl the genoa to the point that it doesn't rest on the spreaders or shrouds before I heave-to
It is my preferred method for taking in or shaking out reefs on the mainsail.
especially single-handed. Even with a crew, it's less stressful to simply heave-to to take a reef.
In heavy weather, it would seem logical that, at the point that you decide to heave-to, you already have at least a double reefed main or a storm tri-sail rigged and a storm jib. Unless it is a quick passing squall. In which case, I douse the jib...and employ the use of the engine with a deeply reefed main to keep me headed to wind.
Having the Storm -tri and the storm jib bagged an on deck ready to deploy, and then deploying them sooner rather than later is wise. I remember waiting too long , and watching a crew member get dunked several times up to his waist at the bow in the gulf stream..( at least the water was warm)
I like the tactic, and use it all the time...Never had to use it in a storm, came close only once.