Jeff, thanks for the reply and the explanation of your thoughts on IOR boats. Indeed, they can take more skill to drive and don't work well as a more forgiving boat. And I agree, there's only I can think of that I might ever consider trading my own boat for, but in the case of a Ranger 22, it's not in the same class of funk and complexity as a 1 or 2 tonner. The Santana 'tuna' is also a cool and still popular little IOR mini that's often available in good shape and little $$$ that can make a great learning platform.
I guess the trouble with lumping everything IOR together is there really are many differences between boats of the era. Something like an S&S Swan 44 is still a great cruising boat. Sure, if you're pushing the boat hard downwind in a seaway with a kite, staysail, etc... it's tough, but no one is pushing nearly as hard cruising. My own head check for IOR is something like the difference between a Carter 'Texas' one tonner, and a 37' Farr one tonner (based on design 51) that I've sailed on. The former is a horror show, the latter is a great boat that has a broad stern and sails quite well and quickly downwind. Going uphill of course is it's forte. Sailed on a mini maxi way back when that was a freight train upwind and dug a monster hole downwind when pressed. Delivery with shortened sail though wasn't an issue.
All that said, I understand your argument. I think it's the strength of the language you use that precludes any possibility that an IOR design can still work and compete in PHRF. They do. The small boats aren't that hard to deal with. Me? I'm a sucker for pretty much anything of the era that's varnished and cold molded.
The beauty and beholder thing for sure!