I could see your story unfold as soon as you said 20-25 kts. of wind with a Sunfish. Although it can be a blast running downwind in a Sunfish or Sailfish, even in those winds, they don't like to tack back home in heavy winds. They are just too overpowered with no ballast to keep them up. It can be done, but if you went a mile downwind you would probably have to tack back about 8 miles in those winds. If you could stay upright to do it.
Sunfish are a great learning experience, but try to learn in 10 kts. or less and then step up to 15 if you feel lucky. I always told my kids when it was blowing and they wanted to use the Sunfish or paddle boat that they needed to go upwind and let the wind bring them home. Of course they were sometimes way to smart for this old man and then learned to walk a boat along a soft shore for a mile or so. After that they always told their friends to go upwind first. Amazing how fast you learn.
I would imagine that your Whoopee in a little gust of wind became a Whoopee and Holy %^&*8 going downwind, and then an Aw %^&*8 when you turned back into it.Live and learn. Have fun!!!!!!!!!