Anarchist Chris laments the lack of participation in non-yachting sailing. Fifty years ago when I sailed a Moth that I had built, our club was taken to try the new Laser. Even then it was heavy, slow and very uncomfortable compared to a Moth. It turned out the things don't even have a long racing life, yet they are the Olympic class still. After becoming effectively pro sailors in an Optimist and cutting off their life options, kids can graduate to punishing themselves on a Laser, and most probably not become a champion. This doesn't rate as fun with most people. The fact that you may perhaps be able to win a championship in a two year old Opti doesn't help.
Chris has the idea: he sails an A class cat and an F18, I bet he has a ball. Most of us aren't up to a 49er, and even Frank Bethwaite's 59er for older people, although brilliant, died because it was too hard to keep upright, (I had one). Old scow Moths were a blast, modern foilers not an option for the average weekend warrior, although the Waszp (I have no connections) is promising.
Could less emphasis on professionalism and winning and more on getting out and enjoying the real pleasure of sailing, in fun boats (and kites and windsurfers) bring back the numbers?
Maybe the average punter is really stuffed, trying too hard to survive, to have fun any more.