Harries offers a bit more on this, in his reply to Andy Schell in the Comments following his posting:
It is worth noting that the SDR doesn't charge to join the rally. Many parties are free and you pay a la carte for those you want to attend. It's hard to make the financial argument there. Schell is defensive about the hit the 1500 has taken by other events, in my opinion.
Jon - your math is correct.
Like Jon I know people who sailed in the SDR this year. While conditions offshore are generally over reported, the folks I heard from are experienced and I find their reports credible. Conditions were worse than predicted or indicated by official sources. A lot worse? Don't know.
With regard to ISAF and other offshore safety regulations I suggest you consider this: S/V Hawk
does not meet those requirements. I'd sail with Beth and Evans on Hawk
anywhere. I'd welcome them aboard Auspicious
(also not currently meeting ISAF requirements) - wait I did, but just for drinks. Ultimately the crew is more important than the boat. That's where all the rallies fall short - too much emphasis on the boat and not enough on the crew.