Which is fair and proper, and expected in racing.
Couldn't disagree with you more. Take auto racing as an example. They regulate the fuel tank size, the racers use 6" diameter filler necks into the tanks. They regulate the filler necks, they coil 200' of fuel line in the car to get them an extra gallon. They try to slow cars down by requiring tread on racing slicks, the racers develop tread that tappers down to nothing as it wears, essentially giving more grip as the race goes on. So now the regulate the tread width, depth, and tapper. Stock car says there must be 500 units available to purchase before its considered for NASCAR. So car manufacturers made 500 purpose built race cars and sold them to the public.
In the end, we all make out by getting better products, coming up with better ideas, and being able to reap the benefits of racers trying to 'bend' the rules. Fair? Hardly, but such is life.
A better definition of "taut" lifelines would be required, but under the current wording, is quite subjective. For example, a lifeline can be really baggy and then kept "taut" with a length of shock cord. Until you lean on it, and get the extra travel you wanted.
Cheating? Nope. Why is catalina able to sell stanchions that have an additional 15* cant to the outside of the boat to allow harder hiking?
B/c its within the rules. I seriously doubt there's a PHRF rating hit that deals with single or double lifeline boats and/or boats with aftermarket stanchions. Is there one for light weight halyards? Using cordage instead of wire for mast supports? All things that give you an advantage, certainly not fair.
As far as racing association, I race PHRF on the potomac and chesepeake bay, and they abide by the same rules for the most part. Lots of ways to make the boat go faster w/o changing your handicap, I'm just exploring my options.