Ah, the perennial debate...
I'd like to respond to one little corner of the debate that I've been musing about lately; namely, whether general skydiving canopy experience is applicable to BASE. I think those of you who have a lot of experience with different types of canopies miss the forest for the trees.
I think most of us experience events as if what we apprehend through our senses is more or less everything there is to sense. But the reality seems to me to be that, when we take up a new discipline, we have to learn to sense things.
A couple of examples:
When I watched the first Star Wars movie (long, long ago, in a galaxy far, far away), I was amazed by how "realistic" it was. Of course, now that I've learned to see movies better, it doesn't look so realistic anymore.
When I took up running in earnest a few months ago, I thought my running shoes were fine. I could have run in just about any shoes and only noticed the grossest of differences. I other words, I could not tell a really good shoe (for my foot) from a mediocre one. Now even different really good running shoes feel remarkably different to me. I've learned to feel them.
The same is true for canopy experience. Before I started skydiving, I had no idea what being under a canopy was really like. It took me a couple of jumps before I really noticed the difference between the DZ's 200 and their 290. I spent plenty of jumps just learning what that first sabre 170 could do. I was learning to feel it -- and, more importantly for this discussion, learning more generally what a canopy was. The more canopies I have jumped, the more I sense generally about canopies. The difference between my experience of a canopy flight on that first jump, and my experience 200 jumps and several canopies later was really significant. And a huge part of that difference in experience is applicable to canopy flight in general.
NOTE: I'm NOT arguing that BASE-specific drills during the posited 200 jumps wouldn't be imensely better than the typical skydiving progression, or that all ingrained responses from skydiving are healthy for BASE, or that different people don't learn disciplines at different rates or in different ways, or ...
...just that simple canopy experience is generally significantly better than none.