That article was about the last race of the first season. There were three more seasons, but only the next two were really the last good ones. That first season, the spinnakers were all provided, and they were the little round bubble stock ones. The last season RJ Reynolds had pulled the sponsorship money, and the promoters never got it off the ground again.
There were a few people pulling in decent money, but more from sponsors than from prize money, although the prize money was nothing to turn down. It went from 8k for first on the weekend, to maybe 500 for last place. At the end of the season, there were other checks. We were middle of the pack, or a little better, the third year when my Wife crewed for me, and the end of the year check was something like 7,500. You had to qualify on Fridays, and top 20 made the show on the weekend going for the prize money. At that last race of the first season, in that article talking about Miami, there were maybe 45 boats racing to qualify on Friday. By the third year, it was down to the regular top 20 who always qualified anyway, and there was no longer any need for the qualifying races on Friday.
It was great fun though, and even Randy will tell you that it was the most fun he has had racing sailboats. The weekends were big hits in sailing towns, but the interest never really went much farther than that. The races were always on fairly short courses, in close to shore, or where the most spectators could fit.
The boats were not designed for the series. The Formula 40s were kind of heavy cats too, but everyone who sailed those enjoyed them. I got to got out on one on a Friday in Wrightsville Beach, and it was a lot of fun. Both cats were sort of heavy beasts as far as cats go, but it was great one design racing.