As someone who sails a "slow" boat and has zero experience racing, I would say that what makes me hesitate is the idea of a start. I have an Alberg 35 (PHRF about 201 I think), and the idea of being three or four feet from other boats that size is very intimidating. I would personally be much more comfortable with the pursuit starts. Also, how about a race where experienced skippers sail as mentor/crew with new racers, maybe a race ONLY for new racers under this format? And trophies can be given out for things other than finishing first: best improvement, funny trophies (most entertaining mark rounding?). I think the main thing is to get people over the initial threshold and help them find the fun.