Love to hear your "obvious reasons". We'd much rather run point-to-point than do laps all fuckin' day. And your argument that displacement boats can't compete on handicap is fucked too. There are long-lived distance races run all over the country that have solid turnout year over year where displacement boats are extremly competative. Look up the results for the Down the Bay race this year, for an example.
I think you've gotten some answers relevant to the decrease in participation in racing overall but you seemed to be asking Joli about why he thinks that sporties aren't distance racing. Let me throw in two centavos from my perspective. First, a little background on my perspective. I bought my first boat at the age of 28 in 1978, competed in my first race in 1979 and have raced every year since (except last year when we were doing non-boat things). I've owned traditional displacement boats: a Hunter 25, Catalina 27, J30, Soverel 33 (our one try in the near sportie world) and now an S2 10.3 which will probably be our last boat. We had each of those approximately seven or eight years. I've raced on Lake Erie in Grosse Isle, North Cape, the Maumee River, Port Clinton, Sandusky, Huron, Vermilion, Cleveland (CRW a few times), Cedar Island Yacht Club and probably other places I'm not thinking of, raced nationals in the Catalina, the J and the Soverel and done four Bayview Macs including one on my boat and this year will be my fifth Chicago Mac on a Schock 41. I personally enjoy long distance racing and love sailing on the Schock 41. It's pretty quick (rates 63, LM-PHRF)) but it is and feels like a traditional boat and I'm not concerned of going offshore in it. It's got the substance to do a long distance race. I'm not the world's best sailor but my crew and I have been competitive and the basement has a large stack of blue, red and yellow flags. We may not have raced the most races of people that have been around as long as we have but we're probably in the running for the top quarter or third.
People similar to me are generally not likely to buy a typical sportie (Melges 24, J/70, that kind of boat) for campaigning away from our home club, i.e. a distance race. We're used to having a boat that we can relax on when we get to the finish line port and can sleep on overnight at an away regatta. Most sporties fail that test. Also, a distance race incorporates the potential for being out in less than ideal conditions (night time, poor visibility, big winds, etc.) some distance from port. In our traditional boats, we have some place to get below, have navigation lights others may lack, have sails that we can put up that are designed for more marginal conditions, probably have more nearly complete instrumentation and navigation gear than most sporties, and heck, even have chart books that they might not want to carry in order to keep down the weight.
I don't know you and whether you're the owner or a crew person on the Farr 400 but it sounds like you probably aren't in that camp that lacks the needed equipment or experience etc. to deal with those eventualities. I congratulate you for bringing a "grand prix" boat to the mix on Lake Erie (although I noticed the "for sale" ad a few posts above, hope that doesn't mean the program is over). But I'd guess that there is a significant percentage of typical sport boat owners/crews who don't have the background for long distance racing or the want/need to enter those events. If they're older and have the experience, they've already been there, done that, and got the teeshirt, and don't need to do another 45-miler. The dresser drawer only has so much room in it. If they're younger they may not be used to going offshore and might be initimidated to some degree by the reasons outlined above. In either case, they bought their sporties to go screaming around the buoys, and more power to them. Fast is fun.
But I suspect that as the horses are changing the courses will have to also to reflect that change. Small sporties aren't likely to be the boats that perpetuate the tradition of long distance racing. And, by and large, owners of traditional lead mines are getting older and fewer of them want to do the long races every year unless there is a great reason like Mills parties or Mackinac Island at the finish line. The days of doing just another "run of the mill" race from North Cape to Sandusky or CYC to Mentor Harbor or whatever are pretty much gone for the masses.