it is my belief that many sailers reef way too late. Our RL 28 behaves much better if we reef the main in anything over 12 knots. We used to sail with everything up and fight the the boat all day long. We got sick of her laying way over with everything getting thrown around. With thre main reefed to the 2nd reef she behaves much nicer with no loss of speed. We will often furl the jib as well to drop power. This keeps the boat more upright, and keeps everyone happier. We sailed across lake Alexandrina in 25-30 knots with just the jib (no main) one third furled and averaged 6 knots all the way. This proved to be a very comfortable ride, with my wife at the helm having a ball. Try reefing sooner with the second or third reef. Happy sailing.
I have a Mk 1 with Peelgrane Skiff rig, which used to be horrible to handle in anything over 15 knots breeze. The trouble was that the mast was never set up properly to enable mast bend. Bending the mast will flatten the shape of your main & make a huge difference to the boat in strong winds. We now carry full main easily in 20 knots without any loss of boat speed. The rudder blade was also set at the same angle as the transom - looked sexy but was useless once the boat started to heel. It must be vertical.