The heyday of fiberglass keelboat production produced a collection of boats that had accommodations for cruising and suitable for racing. However, time marches on, and newer boats better suited for the race course slowly overshadowed the dual purpose designs.
What’s critical for handicap racing, regardless of the rule, is in how boats of similar type and speed are gathered. But as the types of boats got more diverse, and designs became more efficient upwind and/or downwind, the 1970s generation struggled to compete against the new breeds.
The good news is that these boats still exist, so when the topic turns toward increasing participation, one need only look to see what it takes to reactivate this fleet. That’s what the largest regatta of its kind in the world has done.