Never let a gust take you by surprise. The resulting heeling slows the boat and causes dramatic side slip. Instead, pre-feather before the gust hits, even if it means backing the jib beyond comfort. When the full-on gust arrives, the boat should be feathered just the right amount into the wind to keep the boat relatively flat.
I have noticed over the years that many sailboat racers feel they own all the water they are in. Clear Lake, Kemah Channel, Galveston Bay, Gulf of Mexico; doesn't matter. No one can anchor there, no other pleasure craft can enjoy a leisure sail, or a quick spin powering across the lake. I have seen many times racers yelling at powerboats and especially other sailboats for being in their way. I've even seen people yell at a kayak. The common phrase, "I'M RACING!!!! MOVE!!!" It is no wonder that so many other boaters dislike sailboat racers. When I did rigging, many times I would have a conversation with a cruising customer and when the word racing comes up, they usually roll their eyes and begin telling a story of a bad experience they've had with a racer. I get it. I've been on boats where they start screaming at another boat that is just sailing across the bay. They are out just enjoying the peace and quiet and here comes some aggressive racer yelling and screaming wanting them to move. Typically, the race boat is faster than the pleasure boat, so why not just let them know that you'll go around them and apologize for interrupting their day. Typically, (I'll stereo-type here because someone will prove me wrong) racers have better boat handling skills and therefore can maneuver much easier than a pleasure cruiser that may not be 100% tuned up. Remember that if you are in a small race boat and your course bisects another boat's course that is in the channel, sailing/racing doesn't matter - they are probably less maneuverable and have rights. Next time you're out, keep this in mind and remember - they own the water just as much as you do.