With a main reefed to that point in that wind this type of boat won't go to weather, the bow would just blow off. Oh itmight go upwind but it won't go through a tack.As far as wthe wind speed goes the boat has a small chute an deepreefed main ,is doing 19+, and driving the bow through waves. I don't think that you get that in only 20. How hard does it have to blow to get your boat up to that speed?
How many posters have sailed and owned boats that can sustain 20 knots, and have sailed many days in those conditions? I have. My last boat would really scoot. The most I ever saw was 24 knots. Though I have a cruising boat now, we are not talking about a cruising boat.
Heave to in 20-30 knots? Not in my worst nightmare. Too easy to get knocked flat with no way on. Too easy to blow right over the MOB. These boats have to keep moving.
Jib up? Yes, required to punch waves in that wind. Just a small jib will do.
Too fast on the apraoch? Remember, these boats are VERY manuverable and steer on a dime. There was no risk of hitting the MOB on that aproach and it gave them the best possible control. Also note that the boat quickly stopped when the sheets were eased. Little mass. I've done MOB drills on days like that, and the aproach was textbook, FOR THAT BOAT.
Good seamanship? Clearly they knew how to handle their boat. They really should have had the hatch closed; sport boats have sunk that way, one very near my home. We always closed up on blustery days. Harnesses? though I am a big believer, they are a challenge on small performance boats at speed. They are a challenge to crew agility, so I understand why they did not. Clearly sailing at 20 knots in a small boat without a chase boat is always asking for trouble. Things happen SO fast. I never pushed that sort of speed more than a few miles out; I want to be certain help was near and that and MOB search would be restricted in area.
But it's a thrill!