Well, LL is trying hard to make things less painful for the boating fans all over the grid. One of the largest sailing community in Second Life, United Sailing Sims, boasting 9 different communities joined together and around 130 sims — most of them set up just for sailing and races, obviously using Openspace sims — have been designated by Linden Lab for an experiment: joining up private islands with the mainland, at a prime location just eastwards from the newest mainland continent, Nautilus.
Obviously Linden Lab looks forward to this "promotion", but for USS, threatened to drop about 95% of their landmass, this is the only option they had left. They'll survive and grow — while at the same time, landowners in Nautilus' east coast will now enjoy the racing competitions just outside their windows :)
It's quite likely that Linden Lab will do the same for other sailing communities, or other communities using openspace sims in what Linden Lab redefined as "proper use" (ie. basically not really using them much except as 'filler space' — ideal for ocean-loving or forest-loving residents). We'll see if they all get 'connected' to the mainland in some way, thus making my own predictions come true: 2009 will be the year of "back to the mainland" :)
More on Linden Lab's blog post.