I think, after reading most of the posts in this thread, there are several reasons that youngsters will never be sailors. First and foremost, the vast majority of young people I encounter daily want instant gratification. They seem to want everything immediately, and they think it should not only be fast, but also it should be loud and mindless, somewhat like the music they listen to on their I-Pods and smart phones.
Here in Paradise, with beautiful, turquoise blue waters, incredible sailing opportunities, wonderful, warm weather, palm trees, sugar white sand, etc..., the vast majority of individuals aged 45 or less seem to have their minds stuffed into a tiny electronic device in their hand. I've watched them nearly walk off the end of the pier while texting, they ignore then entire world when that phone vibrates and makes some weird sound, they can no longer have an intelligent conversation with anyone using their vocal chords and minds. Google and Yahoo is their new parents.
If they had a sailboat, or a powerboat, they would be looking for an app that would take control of the boat and steer it through a minefield of other boats, crab pot markers, buoys, etc..., thereby allowing them to text their friends while boating. I see parents completely ignoring their screaming children because they can't get away from their I-Pads, I-Pods and smart phones. Thousands of people are killed every year due to texting while driving. Youngsters can no longer perform simple mathematics without the aid of a calculator, let alone pick up a chart and plot a course to a destination just over the horizon. And, if it takes more than 5 minutes to learn, forget it - to them it's not worth the effort.
The cost of boating, of course, has risen to levels that limit this pastime to those that either have a significant amount of disposable income, or are willing to put forth the time and effort to fix up an old boat and make it sailable. Youngsters, those under 50 years of age, don't usually have a significant amount of discretionary income, and if they do, more often than not they don't have sufficient free time to enjoy the sport of boating.
Just my .02 cents worth.
Cheers from an old man living the dream,