Perhaps this observation justifies my cynicism? What is implied by this observation is the recognition of the large number of racers who bail. I believe the data show that Golf and Tennis don't have this amount of attrition and so that is the question. Why? I think we have overlooked some important factors that are unique to sailboat racing. Consider in the US... we built a system from the age of 8 on up to 22 where organized sailboat racing is about showing up at the dock and going racing. The 20 and 30 somethings continue this practice by competing on the event circuit mostly on OPBs. Sailboat racing requires a lot more then 4 people to schedule a match at the golf or tennis club. .... The reciprocity and community building that are essential to a sport run by and for participants and really wanting 10 boats on the line is missing in this structure. There is no expectation as to what these racers are supposed to do to maintain the sport and class. Similar to golf and tennis... they pay their facility membership fee, compete and walk away... No further commitment required. We have trained our new racers to purchase a regatta experience and walk away. I am cynical because I don't think you turn this culture around when these racers get some years on....The small number of 20-30s continuing to sail are likely to be at a level where they want to be on the event circuit.
"their willingness to help run events will, we hope, rise, as it did for their predecessors."
IMO, The predicates for this outcome have been removed. Time will tell. IMO, the system we built has proven to be unsustainable.
Two important observations were from Gouv who noted that Kids who race in the adult fleets stick around and Rambler who has punted on the kid pathway and now focuses on young adult newbies. My argument is that they are much closer to incorporating the requirements for reciprocity and community long with racing skills and rules, tatics, etc etc.
Personally, I define my cynicism when i consider the all most certain future. I don't see how you reimagine the sport... (not sailing) on a fee for service model pathway that we are on now.