Definition of close to the wind in US English:

close to the wind

phrase

Sailing
  • (of a sailing vessel) pointed as near as possible to the direction from which the wind is blowing while still making headway.

    • ‘Bill Davison took a course close to the wind, which paid off on the first race.’
    • ‘As every good captain knows, a schooner that's sailing a bit too close to the wind often goes slower and runs the risk of being put about on the wrong tack (sailing in the wrong direction).’