I think there are things that can done to make sailing easier to learn and that could include building some smarts into the boat itself.
It could be as simple as audible hints when somebody is close to do something stupid and potentially dangerous like an accidental gybe or could be more involved like enhanced automation.
Hmmm, sounds expensive...
Moreover, seems inherently counter-intuitive to the learning process... Like learning most any endeavor, many of the most instructive lessons are learned by making mistakes
... Learning to sail is best done on simple, small, responsive boats where one's input can be felt and measured, and the consequences of mistakes are not too painful, or expensive... Starting out on boats sufficiently large, and sophisticated, so as to possess automated anti-gybe controls seems like a piss-poor way to learn how to sail, to me...
My point is that one barrier I see keeping more people from sailing is simply having no idea how to do it.
So? What's the problem? The water is already covered with boaters who have no clue what they're doing... :-)
That's the fundamental problem I always have with these 'Saving Sailing' discussions... Learning to sail has NEVER been easier than it is today, with the plethora of books, videos, sailing schools, internet discussion forums, and so on...
Seriously, if learning to sail today is still too difficult, or just too much work
for some, should we really be trying harder
to get such people out on the water?