RE: Problems going upwind
No, you need to look at this from a "dynamics" perspective.
Since I cannot go out and sail right now (just had a heart catheterization yesterday) it may take us a few days to get this really sorted out, but the "setting the hips" is something you need to do right at first (and, as I said previously it will be uncomfortable the first few times you do it) to get yourself into the "mode" of pulling upwind and off the water with your front foot, while pushing across the top of the fin paralel with the water surface with your back foot.
So, if you are "pulling" with your front foot, and pushing with your back foot, there's no way the front hip can be inboard of the rear hip.
The main idea here is that your feet (which are fixed in the straps) face more toward the direction the board is going, and then you pull with your front foot and push with your back foot it "feels like" you are trying to "twist" the board at some central point between your front and rear feet.
As far as sheeting in, as Happy suggests, you need to have your harness lines doing that and your upper body needs to pretty much face the rig.
So, the "twist the hips" sort of "twists the board" into a lee rail down roll attitude to and pushing across the top of the fin provides the resistance needed to keep the fin at the correct attitude and loading to give the best upwind lift.
Your stance here is basically "twisted" as well with the feet facing more forward, the hips set at somewhere around 45 deg. and the upper body shoulders facing the rig which is sheeted in and raked back fully.
This is all quite hard to describe, but I can assure you that once you get it everything lined up and your fin "bites" upwind, you will want some more as your board will maintain lot's of speed, and be turned significantly higher than you can get with any other method/stance.
I'll work with you guys on this, just tell me what your board/rig/fin are doing and perhaps we can get you dialed in farily quiickly.
You need good solid planing wind, and you need to have really good speed, then go into upwind mode.
You can't just get planing a little bit, and then jump on the fin (maybe on a formula board, with a 60-70 cm fin) as you need to get the water flowing on the fin to develop the required lift.
If the conditions are marginal and you can't get plenty of apparent wind, you will need to get bigger gear or use the upwind rail down slogging upwind techniques as an alternative.
Hope this helps,
maybe we can