A few comments,
1. I'm betting that most of the PHRF areas don't penalize for for sail material, and if that's true then the J/30 Class would be held back by a handful of Chesapeake OD sailors that don't want to keep the boat relavent for anything other than THEIR OD sailing - that to me would hardly be good for the Class.
2. I find it hard to beleive that every boat in the Chesapeake Bay sails with Dacron sails. I'm wondering if the sail cloth penalty is applied to boats where a class allows string sails. For example, the newer J/Boats allow string sails for OD sailing. Do those boats get hit with the 6 second penalty or is it just that the 6 seconds applies to boats that violate their class rule? Is there a 6 second penalty for head sails too?
3. I currently carry 6 seconds of penalty for sailing OD configuration - I don't sail a PHRF beater boat. And, I did appeal the local PHRF on the spinnaker pole rule and won. Why don't you appeal the 6 second rule.
4. You tell us about the cost diferential of a string main and that they don't last. How do you know? I'm on my third one and thus I have a pretty good bench mark for how long they last. They last about 5 years and are in race condition pretty much throughout that life - I doubt one can honestly say that for Dacron. No sailmaker I've talked to will say that (at least not for the level of racing we do)
5. For me and most every other PHRF sailor that wants to race OD, the cost penalty to us is quite high to have to buy two sails. One for PHRF and one for OD. And again, I'm betting there are a lot more PHRF racers than the hand full of OD guys that get a penalty for string sails. Should the class make a rule for the entire Class or just for the benifit of the Chesapeake OD'ers
6. I'm thinking that if my sail maker can't make string sails - I've got at least 2 sailmakeres because one can't make my class legal head sails.
7. The arguement of taking a top level skipper with a dacron sail and putting him up against a back of the fleet sailor with a string sail and see who wins isn't relavent. The question that is relavent is; top level skipper with a string sail vs top level skipper with a dacron sail - which one has the advantage?8. One can tell us all about how a string sail doesn't make a difference... "one bad tack etc, etc. One can make that same arguement about fairing a keel, upgrading to low strech sheets, cutting the covers off of halyards, sanding a bottom to an ultra fine finish and on and on. I hear those arguements every year - mostly from the guys sitting at the bar that don't win flags. As Dennis Conner said about how to win an America's Cup race - "start with the fastest boat"