It works! There is a nifty new feature that has been added to the site that will allow members to "sign up" for an event as a participant. On each Sailing Event page there is a link at the bottom of the page that you can click to be added as a participant of that event.
Note - This functionality is only visible for members who are actually logged into the site.
You will find a new menu tab called "Participants" at the top of the event description for each Sailing Event, clicking on the tab will take you to a page that lists the members who have signed up for that event. Click on the "View" tab to return to the description of the event.
Since this basically replaces the old "Participants" text box for a Sailing Event, that form field has been removed.