On Waiata we tend to sail conservatively. Tending more toward we’ll get there safe rather than in a hurry. As a result we reef early. The spec sheet says we should be reefed upwind in 20-21kts of apparent wind. We tend to reef in 18kts.
But when we are approaching a night sail this is often extended even earlier, reefing as much as 15kts if we have a slightest suspicion that either the wind will continue or that it might increase.
As opposed to what might be expected we find that we don’t slow down usually, even reefing very early, but instead just get more control and more ease on the balance of the boat.
Always reef before you think you MUST and especially at night Reef early and before you have to try and do it during the dark hours.