For me, getting our own start is a perk for getting the numbers on the line in the first place.
Ding, first thanks for not saying "piss off"
I can see your point, but.... If I was in a the fleet with 40 and there were other boats of "similar" capabilities I would be all for getting them on the line as well.
More boats for me improves the racing. (I do not want something of drasticly differing performance in the mix like adding the Wave fleet) Big fleet starts are something we do not get to have very often and it is the biggest thrill and advange to having a "fleet" for me. Having more boats, is also (IMO) the best way to force one to improve their boat handling skills.
I do not agree with the argument about getting run over or up by another boat that is not being scored with you. On the line you are forced to race everyone and the guys who win regularly will still come out ahead with more baots, and developing those skills (or any skills) is why I race. Name a race besides a 1 design or class nationals where there are not other boats on the course that may or may not effect your outcome in a race wheter it is on the starting line or not. The Waves were not starting with us at Tradewinds, but I know they effected me on a number of occasions, and Mike Hill even a bit more. Dodging boats is all part of the tactics same as missing crab pots and trying to pick shifts.
This may not be everyones opinion obviously, but I go to regattas for the social aspect, but I race becuase I am trying to learn more every time I am on the boat. The moment I have quit learing, I am done. The more boats on the course the more it is mixed up and the more there is to learn.