That said... I would not discourage someone with non-class parts from participating.
Matt, I'm not meaning to pick on you, but this sums up my issue. I would love to have heard from you that "I would encourage someone with an old boat and non-class parts to participate."
Let me repeat. I support one class ideas. I think they are good. I think the Hobie 16 has shown an impressive history of surviving. The question in my mind is where will it be in twenty years and if there are ways we can help improve its chances of survival.
I assume that like many people, when you pick up an old boat and think about going racing, you look up the class rules to see what you need to do to race. I look up the rules and find I don't have a comp-tip mast. I need to replace the tramp, and find one for half the cost (and maybe half the life, but if I'm still sailing ten years down the road, my doctor and I are going to be happy). But that means I can no longer race my boat. My heavy, forty year-old boat.
Now I might find two or three races a year to go to, because I live in a place where the Hobie fleets are either dead or on life support. And a hundred or more miles away. I'm not going to invest several thousand dollars into something that has limited opportunities. I'll think about the Laser or Sunfish fleets that are nearer to me and race twice a week.
What I'm hearing is that fleets are using a wink and nod approach. Show up and sure, we'll let your illegal boat race. Well maybe. Probably. I just spent a few hours on the road and no one is sure whether I can race or not. That's encouraging. And this is assuming I figure out Hobie fleets have a wink and nod approach and don't follow the rules that they say are the rules. I guess I'm wondering what other rules Hobie has a wink and nod approach. Is port/starboard a wink and nod as well?
Instead of a wink and a nod, and a maybe and a probably, why can't we figure out a rule to address this situation? Doesn't say much about our abilities to solve problems. And as Matt said, we won't discourage people but we also won't be encouraging them. And in twenty years, when we have an even bigger fleet of old boats that can only race with a wink and a nod, will the Hobie 16 be dead?
Best of luck,