I ran a test, on the simulator, for the Battle of Portland scenario. I followed the precepts that I listed. One feature of this run, is that when I removed the mouse from the helm, especially if I did it quickly, the helm would swing in some bad direction. I suspect that I caught a few ships head on into the wind, through this mechanism.
In any case, the Dutch did reasonably well, although it was almost a "fight to the finish", as the final result had the Dutch with 53% of their ships left, while the English had 41% of their's left. There were more disabled Dutch ships. For example, the Brederode (54 guns) was dismasted, although almost undamaged, otherwise. If there was a way, in the simulator, to hook up a tow, then she could have been towed home.
One thing that I scrupulously did was to take the Dutch fleet way to the windward before waring. I was quite successful in keeping clear of the English.
At this point, I really want to try the Battle of the Kentish Knock, to see what is different there than Plymouth and Portland, which are both amenable to the tactics that I have suggested.