With the year that sailing has had in regards to safety, it might be considered to be in poor taste to bemoan raising safety standards and I invite you to tell the widow of John Fisher that the sport is "basically as safe as golf." It's in doubly poor taste when the your inability to race was 100% self-inflicted by not reading the race instructions in time to attend the safety at sea seminar put on by STC the week before the race. It's in triply poor taste when you vent your frustrations anonymously in a public forum and package them with baseless implications of profiteering and grifting against an organization that is the pillar of Safety Offshore in the United States.
The safety concerns associated with this race are real. Jamie Boeckel was killed on this race not that long ago, it happened to a group of sailors arguably 10 times more experienced than the crew of the J/100 you were going to sail on and it haunts the members of that crew to this day. The fund established in his memory provides SAS training to Junior Sailors to prevent the kind of accident which claimed his life. I've been a man overboard and I've picked up a man overboard. In both cases, I was glad to know that there were people on the boat who had been trained and forced to practice the maneuver under the eye of instructors before. I've had a rudder failure out of sight of land and was heartened to know that the people around me were trained to, and did, get the boat back to land sailing without steerage. I've had water ingress issues onto a race boat well into the Atlantic Ocean and felt safer because the man who fixed it was in the SAS class with me.
It blew over 30 knots on the back side of Block Island Friday night and it was DARK. Whether you pedantically define Rhode Island Sound as the "sea" or not, the water out there is just above 50F which, when combined with air temperatures in the low 50s and the windchill, can knock you unconscious in less than an hour. There were 70 boats transiting the area at the time and most were performing sail changes, reefing, and other maneuvers in the middle of the night - all of which carry the risk of MOB situations.
When an accident can happen to anyone in that situation, why shouldn't everyone be held to some defined standard? Who are we to know that in your crew's 60+ BI races you experienced and solved every issue that is covered at a SAS seminar? To that end, there are people who do this race that are unqualified, either formally or informally, to perform in a safety crisis - period. For every Mario Andretti there are 10 first timers who don't know the quickstop maneuver. If the only way to bring at least 30% of every person on the water up to some known baseline of capability is to require they pay a safety expert a nominal fee and sit through a lecture and have a weird lunch of pale turkey sandwiches in the SUNY messhall then that's an acceptable cost to me.
If there are still people who would chose not to enter and race around the same track as me or I because they don't want to get trained then I say good riddance, go do the the Figawi, because I wouldn't want my life or yours to depend on a person who wanted to save a few bucks rather than a person.