Re: The future of the sailing world. Why are there so few young people cruising??
I doubt the basic premise that there were lots of baby boomers cruising the oceans in their twenties. Sure some might have. A lot of boats were under 30' and I recall a survey showing most would prefer a couple of feet more.
The reality was for most they married and had children by their mid twenties. Those interested who had not had the chance as kids then might have got a sailing dinghy 12' 6" was most popular, and in their mid thirties probably an 18 ' trailer sailor, and maybe a keeler in their fifties. Even then only a small proportion ever did an ocean passage and even less ocean cruising.
Back then air travel barely existed and was expensive. More recently marriage and families were delayed and time out backpacking taking advantage of cheap airfares was not unusual. The return airfare NZ to Europe is the same or less than twenty years ago in nominal terms. Wages were high and jobs plentiful and I would say there was quite a lot of indulgent spending. In recent years not so much with the average real wage having declined over 10 years.
Maybe youth sailing has declined somewhat as has say trailer sailor racing. There are bigger keelers with larger crews of rail meat. I don't think this gives the same opportunity for low cost hands on experience. However there are still big P class and optimist fleets for those with arents who encourage them so there will always be sailors.
I suspect for many years there will be relative austerity for most so maybe more will have simpler tastes.