Regatta Participation

Until this past long Winter, I had never considered mid-Winters. My son and I decided a couple of months ago to do the 2009 event. I have a lot of vacation, but he doesn't get time off of school, so a long weekend would be best. Are there any plans for 2009 yet...yeah, I know it's way early for that.
This is an idea I've been kicking around for awhile.

I hear a lot about getting juniors and even adults into the class and especially racing. How many of you remember your first race? My first race was with my dad and neither of us knew what was going on. The first leg we got ran over by a Hobie and the second leg we executed what to this day has to be the most spectacular death roll ever. Despite the problems, I was hooked.

I would like to see a "free race" program set up at some of the regattas. This could be done at any level, local, regional or national. Invite anyone who may be interested in sailing/racing to watch a regatta (preferably from the water) and after the days' official racing, have the competitors take a "crew" on board for 2-3 very short races. Explain what is happening in the race and award prizes for all. Perhaps this will get a few more hooked on racing and say "hey, I can do that".
I only attended the Masters due to a conflict and I was sorry to see few Florida folk that made the trip. I'm thinking, too long drive/too cold for Floridians.
One suggestion regarding future Masters/MW's: several other classes have had success by hosting "feeder" regattas prior to their midwinters. How about scheduling one or two regattas on the way to South/mid Florida (like Charleston-Lake Dora, Fl., etc.) so that participants driving South have more events to attend so to make the long trip more worth while? Even a combined Grand Prix series of 3-4 winter events might encourage more Northerners to make the trek.

Regarding Sunfish racing participation in general-we are obviously loosing the Opti kids to brand L due to our image problem. We need to hire a professional PR firm to work with us to change our image from off-the-beach-fun-boat to a serious racer. Vanguard will not help us, we need to work this ourselves. Ads in the marine media; heavy air flicks; racing articles, etc. etc. is needed for years to change our image. It will be costly, sure, but if we don't start soon, we will all age out and the Class could dwindle! Let's do it.
There is no better way than to show how radical the Sunfish can be in good wind to get the attention of a younger set. Could we get Versus to cover some of our more prestigious events? The qualifing races for the Worlds and then the Worlds. I like the idea of more recognition for all participants in a regatta. Shorter courses and more races so that a Saturday and 1/2 day Sunday venue is more accommodating for working stiffs. The 2007 MidWinter had 70 boats on the line. No wind then tons of wind. Floridans love to host regattas.