Re: race participation
Over the years my clubs have tried most of the ideas that have been brought up. The obvious things like giving cruisers their own "no flying sails" class are the most practical, but the fact of the matter is that even if you bend over backwards to accomodate them, most will not show up consistently, and the ones that do quickly get bored from lack of competition and either gear uo to get into the main fleet, or more likely just quit racing.
The most success in getting cruisers out racing comes from special events, not part of the regular racing series. Charity races where boats are encouraged to dress up their boats and crews in costumes for prizes, and layover races with good parties always attract non racers. Another popular event locally is a "scramble" where there are a number of marks laid out, but skippers can round the marks in any order they wish.
Don't fall in to the trap of "dumbing down" the existing racing series, leave those to the serious races. Instead come up with new events that cater to cruisers.
1979 Santana 30 Tall Rig