solings in heavy weather

Last summer my family and I were sailing Soling 1 meters in 25 knots of wind. Apparently that wasnt that smart, because half an hour later 1 soling had actually sunk, the hatch being blown off it, 3 others were leaking, and the rudder shaft on the last one had snapped. I had loosened the outhauls and cunnninghams on the sails, and they were relatively depowered. Does anyone have any tips on preventing stuff like this from happening (besides from not sailing at all in 25 knots)? If i had had a camera, the pictures of the boats dueling in the high winds would have been spectacular. its more fun sailing when its windy, but no fun if they start sinking.

Slackening the Cuningham and the outhall will actually power up the rig. For heavy weather sailing on a boat that cannot reef, it is more advisable to tighten both to flatten the sail, also tighten in the backstay and slacken off the vang/kicker to allow the top of the mainsail to twist and spill air off the top third. To windward be prepared to sail as close to the wind as possible without loosing headway and steerage and dont let the boat heel too much.