I love this thread. I almost don't agree with anyone.....completely. Chief will do the right thing.
I really don't like rules much that get down to square feet and specific numbers. I like filters and the freedom to make some mistakes. So that the mistakes are mine...not the organizers.
What the rules should attempt to do is require some minimum basic requirements and leave the rest up to the skipper....as must ultimately happen anyway! I would speculate that few skippers sailed the specific boats they were sailing in the 2012 EC in 40+ mph winds before 7 AM that Sat. morning. "Why?" Cause it ain't no fun! That's why!....unless they were/are Watertribe Vets with an older boat.. I won't take the opportunity to mention names here.
So, Chief, make rules that get across the message that you must show up with a safe boat as you have in the past and continue to allow innovation and experience to take place. Tweak what you already have to improve and make more clear what you already know is needed.
I think that the EC has worked very well because this is exactly what has been done in the past. Just do it a little better each year based on experience.
Krank, you always got words of wisdom for us!
..... and I think you nailed it, at least for me, it's the filters put in place that molds the boats and that's what drew me in. You figure out a way to do then get it done. All of my adventures are that way and I don't do any kind of one class racing really, unless you consider the Adirondack Canoe Class as such. I am in a class of other solo pack canoes, but it's a mass wave start so it doesn't really matter who's who. Still it's the course that draws me in, not a class or box rules. This isn't an offshore race, it's not a flat water race, it's not a whitewater race, nor a river race, each one of them has their own conditions and molds each boat. the EC is a lot like my home waters, offshore, bays and shallow waters, if I want to sail around here (south padre island, texas) I have to work around the same "filters". what I build for here I build for the EC, nice!
As for the cats, sure they need modification, what boat doesn't to some extent. Even specially built expedition canoes are modified for their particular adventure.
yeah, sure, you need gear and a few rules but not to exclude any one type of boat. The boat must adapt to the course. Yeah, the reefing rule might have to be in place for those too bold to listen though.
Just as a side note, the GT300, an offshore race of beach cats along the texas coast has a rule where you must have a head sail! They also have a bunch of other rules that keep me from being in it, but it is fun to watch anyway.