This is all good advice, but I'm not sure the organizers will take this to heart. If they want the race to continue being successful, and down the road, want the Worrell 1000 to be successful, they need to beef up the rules and actually have an international jury available to take protests. Otherwise you get into all sorts of issues (cough couch Cape Canaveral exclusion zone). The lack of proper management in these areas is a prime reason why I haven't shown up to do the race, among others including wear and tear on a boat that spends a good deal of time buoy racing, plus the usual excuses of time.
Mark I realize your question is rhetorical, but for the rest of the world, the F18 is also a measurement box rule boat...its a much tighter box than the A but things like decksweepers are legal per the rules and at this point are here to stay. Are they faster, well, upwind yes, downwind maybe not. Will the F18 SCHRS rating change as a result? No. Will every one else's SCHRS rating potentially change as a result? Yes, as the benchmark boat is the F18 and if it gets faster then the boats around it have to change, that is simply a result of how the formula works, and it may confuse many sailors.
Then you have classes with ambiguous class rules as mentioned above. SCHRS I think handles that in a good way with a measurement based rule, but it would help if sail areas and mast areas are prescribed by the builders for granting of an initial rating.
ding ding ding. I agree. That's not really why I don't do the Florida distance race anymore but it was definitely a sore spot for me, personally. I don't know that it needs to be an international jury, but at least one trained judge and two knowledgeable/fair stand-ins would probably be sufficient. Adhere to the rules with protests, filings, time limits, impartial adjudicating, etc. Sticking to a very strict regiment of what information should be in an NOR, what should be in Sailing Instructions, and what you can/can't change in the skipper meetings each morning will help everyone have an even and consistent expectation of what they signed up for. That said, it's been several years since I've participated so I'm speaking from an aged, and possibly not current, perspective.
And as far as splitting hairs with a handicap rating, I have two points:
A) these little things like deck sweeper mains and small changes here and there have such a small actual effect on boat performance compared to the mental impact. If you are in the 99th percentile of racing, yes, they may give you an edge - but those guys are hardly worried about their handicap rating.
B) it's handicap racing. By it's very nature it's inaccurate. It's a close swing at leveling the playing field and that's all. If you don't accept it as that, you won't ever enjoy it.