My experience, teaching, helping with the summer camp and junior programs at two clubs, has been that the only kids that do not care about the boat are still learning the basics of sailing. Once a kid gets the hang of it they quickly start looking around the yard.In my experience, most kids don’t care what kind of boat they are sailing - they are social animals and get their kicks out of being with other kids. The smiles on the faces of the 12 yr old Opti kids coming off the water is no smaller than the smiles of the 16 year old 420 kids or the 18 year old 29er kids.
(Just edited adding the word Opti)
My experience has also been to watch most of what I used to think would be future sailors, walk away because they are bored. I do not volunteer anymore because I'm all too familiar with the "pathway". Not in the mood to discuss why in this thread, done it enough in others. Too many people that think what was good before is good enough now, making this discussion too exasperating to engage in again. Kids do not participate in most sports with the same gear their grandparents used. And a 50th percentile twelve year old boy/girl is 40kg/42kg. A 41kg kid should have moved on from an Opti by then. In practice an athletic kid will be in the 75th percentile or 47kg/48kg, way to heavy for an Opti.