Doc, good on you for throwing out the question! JRP nailed it IMO, it sounds like you had a bit much sail out and turning off the wind would have helped?
Last Saturdays sail in 20-25 with gust in the low 30's, we set two reefs in the main and the equivalent in the genoa and we were very comfortable sailing between a beam reach and broad reach. It was a good exercise/experience for us as we don't get the opportunity to sail in those conditions often around here.
Tartan 37 - S/V Windgeist
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Photo by Joe McCary