"...cut through a yacht club race course once..."
The racers may rise up in righteous indignation, but they don't have an inherent right to the water just because they are racing. I sail off of Annapolis and so there are a fair number of races on the weekends. I do try to avoid screwing any of them up unduly, but often they are covering a wide area, an area that I am traversing based on wind conditions. The time I pay more attention to races is in light air. I have actually started the engine and motored around racers on a few occasions.