The 5300 boat fleet has probably dwindled to well under 4000 currently serviceable and recoverable toys and I am being optimistic.
The "grand prix" feel of the eighties is gone and has been replaced by a "fleet of potentially wonderful toys you can race that you can buy for next to nothing."
The boat will NOT attract those who would must like to go to the store and buy a playtoy. The fleet already attracts the same guys who would go to a junkyard and find a 1955 chevy to restore and some who really like fixing toys more than racing them.
the fleet will no longer attract the folks who want to race in the hottest fleet with the big name teams so they can test their skills agains the best.
Many of the boats are having severe rot problems and will soon be unserviceable but odds are some will make their fiftieth birthday while still sailing competitively.
The new J-24 game is a fine one already played all over the world in lots of old designs whose original builders and designers long since abandoned them. There will be plenty of clubs where J-24s are the best local fleet and where some enthusiastic locals regularly go find a cherry boat somewhere and bring it in either to use or market to whoever shows up and shows interest in sailing..
Nobody is building the 200 to 300 new Boats we would need every year to sustain the fleet as a super north american class but ...
113 Thistles at Sandusky this month shows us old boats whose primary building and retail success came a long time ago can still assemble for a helluva game
The J-24 either needs an enthusiastic new builder who can manage to market it well enough to sell those 200 to 300 boats or ...
we need a different new toy to replace what we had in the eighties
Personally?? I think the sailing community needs a boat that does what a J-24 did with a trailer and sails for $10,000. Somebody needs to get mighty creative.
I will gladly sail my old J-24 while I wait.