If the windward mark is anywhere near the shore, explore the wind along the layline nearest the shore.
As the wind comes over a shore, it is turned perpendicular to the shore line. You should be able to find a big header at the shore.
If the header is there, the first one to get to it should round the mark first.
File under "you need to get out and sail the course before the race."
Some recent posts on my new blog
2 months ago