Re: wind conditions and reefing
I don't know your boat, but I think 20 kt is high for the first reef. My first reef is in around 15, and earlier if I'm sailing alone. Choosing the right headsail is even more important on a masthead boat like yours; what headsails do you have? In such conditions, considering the possibility of high gusts, I would be down to a 110% jib.
With such sails, a 30 kt gust is not going to knock you down, though it might heel you uncomfortably. When the boat heels to the gust, a lot of the power of the wind will spill out from the tops of the sails.
1972 Catalina 27