Sailing in different fleets as an owner and crew, I've not been able to understand the following safety requirements, or lack there of.
Racing dinghy: Not much further than a PFD, paddle, and towline. The RC will sometimes pull the fleet into an open area of the bay, fairly deep water, more than a mile from shore. I like this area and am not a fan of the inshore areas as they are infested with powerboats, PWC's, etc. I'm very comfortable sailing in this area.
Small keelboat OD: Not much further than PFD's, paddle, towline, compass, and bucket. An auxillery is a requirement, or not, of the fleet rules. Races in the same area as above. Same comments as above.
Small keelboat handicap: ORC4 requirements which are too long to list here but basically the boat is capable of coastal cruising. Depending upon the boat if will never meet these requirements, examples include: J/22/24/70/80, Melges20/24, Viper640, Tripp26, you get the idea.
I'm writing this because I just read an email from a skipper/friend of a VX/One who has decided to not race his boat in a large local regatta because there is no way the boat can meet the specs. In the mean time there will be starts for boats like the J/70 and J/80 in the same area he would have raced. I hope his comment about maybe quitting racing and becoming a cruiser are a joke, but I know he is fed up enough to maybe go ahead with it after another 2-3 years on the VX.
I really do understand the need for safety and have done multiple ocean races. But the handicap rules versus what OD is permitted to do, makes little sense.