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A good way to figure out if you are sailing close enough to the wind (while beating) but not "too" close (which robs you of speed) nor too far away (which needlessly gives away distance, is jib telltales, like this:

How to Trim the Jib ? Trimming the Jib with Telltales

Simple memory trick, if you are steering from windward side as you should, with a tiller:

"inside yarn flutters, pull in on tiller til it goes horizontal"
"outside " " push out " " " " "

Both are horizontal?? You are "in the zone" of laminar wind flow on both sides of your jib, which creates the Low pressure area on the outside of the sail which "pulls" you upwind.

Close-hauled sailing is the most demanding of your concentration, because the "zone" or "sweet spot" is pretty narrow, no more than about 10 degrees on your (mental, or actual) compass. Reaches and broad reaches, it's a wide zone, less concentration needed...you can steer with your toe, or make bread, or whatever, that's why the cruising sailors love broad reaches. Us racers love beating upwind. No fresh bread for us though.
 
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