Don't you kind of think your last statement was the point of the FP story? It is sad that a few folks with the money to do so and the attitude that winning isn't everything, it is the ONLY thing, kind of suck the fun out of it for the majority that don't feel that way?It's all about the gear, choose the level you can afford and go out and play. Sailing against pros only makes you better and its lots of fun...if you can learn. Ultimately its up to the class association to control the gear through rules.
Clearly the OP cannot afford to play in the M20 class, perhaps he could try lasers which are probably the most popular racing boat on the planet because its NOT about the gear.
Last I looked there is only one winner no matter how big the fleet is, if winning was everything then very few would continue in our sport, as far as I can tell there is a lot more to racing than a podium finish every time.