Man, I am in Newport right now, if you could see the hundreds (or thousands) of sailboats in the harbor and watch the crews, you wouldn't think sailing is dying, because it isn't. They are buying into it with amounts of money that I can't imagine.
But its a niche sport for sure.
I just spent a few hours with a couple that have sailed to Maine from the UK. They've spent 18 months aboard and sailed around 10,000 NM to get here.
To hear them talk, there's a cruising community everywhere they've been along the way. In fact, cruiser word of mouth is their main source of info for their itinerary as they go. They only have wifi when they're near a source.
I asked him are they the young people amongst those they meet? He said pretty much(he's 38).
This makes sense to me just as it did 20 years ago when I was off for a year(then in our 30's we were the younger people we met on the east coast).
It took them a couple of decades of careers to make themselves financially solvent enough to go cruising. Cruising, if you're traveling long distance, isn't cheap. It's not the same as living aboard.
Along the way, they each earned their own homes, each of which is now rented which is supplying what they need to cruise on a 34' boat around the Atlantic. They've well experienced, frugal, and smart with their choice of boat and gear.
This thread often feels like it exists in a vacuum when I read about the lack of young people out cruising. Sailing has always been a niche recreation, but seems alive and well on my coast, as does a smaller fraction that are off cruising.