Definition of heave to in US English:

heave to

phrasal verb

  • (of a boat or ship) come to a stop, especially by turning across the wind leaving the headsail backed.

    ‘he hove to and dropped anchor’
    • ‘The ship was hove to and the men in charge of patching were swung over in rope slings.’
    • ‘The boat heaves to under power and waits, the skipper aware of the half-mile visibility in haze.’
    • ‘‘You will also practise being captain of your own ship, repairing the engine and heaving to in a storm,’ she said.’
    • ‘As they approached the coast of Western Australia the wind blew too heavily for the ship to make landfall and they had to heave to with close reefed topsails.’
    • ‘Seeking water, Alexander heaved to and sent out a boat.’