Many years ago I was crew on a sail training boat when the skipper ordered the trainee helmsman to head up into the wind. The helmsman simply abandoned the tiller, saying: “I have no idea what I’m doing”. This feeling of helplessness at the helm is a condition I’ve noticed with inexperienced sailors many times since.
When you’ve been sailing for a while you develop a subconscious habit of continually checking where the wind is coming from. An occasional glance at the tell tales, the masthead Windex, the wind instruments, provide input that keeps you wind-oriented.
It’s one of those habits that you really should get into.
Here’s a pretty picture, apropos of nothing: