Excess heeling was never an issue. I was spilling enough wind from the main by sheeting out that the rail never came close to the water. If I had to name one thing as the source of most of my problems, it would be that I didn't have the main reefed. The last time I was out in wind like that I had two reefs in the main and a little Yankee-cut jib, and she sailed great.
It also would have been nice to have had a tiller tamer, so that I could have let go for a few seconds and trimmed sail without her coming instantly right up into the wind. Before things got real crazy and I was on my broad reach, I did let go of the tiller and she sailed in a straight line for thirty seconds or so before beginning a slow, easy turn up into the wind. Once it started gusting 20+ though, she just wanted to put her face into it.
S/V Free Spirit
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