Cheers for that. It made interesting reading . 😀The average design date of the 10 most popular International dinghy classes, by current average annual sales, is 1959.
The average design date of the 10 most popular UK classes is 1984, compared to the USA's 1950. BUT - although there are no really good bases for comparison, it doesn't seem that dinghy sailing is vastly more popular in the UK than in Australia (average design date of the top 10 about 1962) or Germany (average design date about 1957). The French "top 10" average design date is about 1962. So while the age of the US fleet does seem to be a problem, the German fleet isn't much newer and sailing is very popular there and there doesn't seem to be any strong relationship between the design age of popular classes and national sailing participation overall.
Most of the popular new classes are junior boats (RS Tera and Feva in the UK, Open "Skiff" and Feva in France) and even the most popular "skiff" type, the 29er, doesn't make the top 10 in any of these countries.
The US situation must surely suffer from the huge population and area, which seems to make it hard for grass roots classes to spread. The collapse of the Vanguard 15, JY15 etc seem to underline that in the USA, a class' fate is closely linked with the class manufacturer's commercial decisions. And surely it's hard to work out the cause and effect of the lack of new designs in the USA top 10 - is the dinghy scene small because the boats are old, or are the boats old because the scene is so small that manufacturers can't bring in new designs easily?