John - I think you bring up an excellent point. Sport/race boats and super-high technology are not what it's about. Okay - so your race boat weighs as much as a meth-addict-anorexic because EVERYTHING is made out of CF. Who cares? It still only goes 14 knots!!! It's not exactly an F1 machine...right?
I think that's why the Vendee and VOR are so appealing. It's not really about the boats per se - it's about the BIG sailing. Watching expensive boats crowd around a mark in relative slow motion is not fun (though I grant it is surely a major blast actually DOING it as you say). On the other hand, watching a single-hander slam through 30 foot seas down around the 30's at even 10 knots is pretty damn amazing.
But then you get into the technology issues...like the weight factors (who want's to add the weight of production equipment to their boat for the Vendee? How would you "crew" it?) - and the technical logistics of covering something like that (great analysis BTW AE).
So it's definitely about the "destination races" as you say John - not the club stiuff. But the question is - to AE's point - how do we cover these kinds of races to make them exciting?
Chall - if you read this chime in. You're in the biz. It would be great to hear your perspective!