Me too. It's not necessarily about joining the fleet or taking the trophy home, but having somebody to beat or be beaten by. It isn't necessarily about fairness or parity, but competition on your own terms. Racing against your GPS is OK, but if there is someone around to hone your skills against, its much more fun!
Jim's posts have been instructional in that they illustrate what a good sailor can do with the AI. As long as he's not interfering with the fleet, his "shadow" racing sounds exciting. The fleet knows he's not really in their race, and they don't seem to have any problems with his presence.
Pedaling is part of the unique aspect of the AI and integrates well with sailing. It also opens up a whole realm of possibilities racing from point A to point B; there's no reason not to exploit it. What better way to measure and refine it than in the presence of some other racers when that's all you have?
I think we all understand and agree that pedals would not be permitted in any official sailing race, and that's fine. I used to race sailboats and fully concur with the limitations for all official race entrants.
So why don't we call Jim a "race escort"? Jim, keep the reports coming anyway for those of us who enjoy hearing about your experiences.