I think people tend to set the bar WAY too high and WAY too fast in all youth sports. All the ranking and high stressful competition on the part of parents really puts a torpedo in the whole thing and turns kids away. This is pretty much true of all sports unfortunately. Attempts to thin the crowd by making a sport "expensive financially" or "expensive time wise" succeed in thinning the ranks.
If we ever took the time to talk to youth sailors we would find that they are really interested in having fun, working hard, learning skills and making friends - not going to the Olympics! It's great to dream but for almost all they will take the memories of the fun (or not) with them.
The basic formula is more sailors = better talent and sailing anything that floats will start teaching skills. The more kids that are exposed to the sport, the more likely that top sailing talent is found and nurtured.
Develop the love and the talent will take care of itself, it's hiding in that pack of kids playing soccer, baseball, football ...
This being said, it is pretty clear Catamarans are much more capable of capturing the imagination of youth sailors and Hobie needs to capitalize on this. Less formal Open class sailing with less than pristine (or class legal) Catamarans should be a part of every Hobie event. Otherwise this leaves out a great many that cannot afford a new shiny Hobie to compete at the highest levels (please spare us the Bob won on a 73' - these do not represent the norm). Be creative, advertise for kids that have never sailed to crew with experienced sailors in a race, play some music, have some games, drag in some idiot from a reality show ... make it fun!!!
What is fun about sitting in an Optimist from morning to late afternoon for 7 or 8 races races and peeing in your wetsuit ... uhm ... not a lot
Sailing has too much of a "rich snob" reputation and the Hobie's flourished when they embodied the essence of the generation. Let's bring it back down to earth and focus on youth participation. It seems that most of the marketing is attempting to capture the old farts (that would be me) from that generation gone by.
Whooo, where did that come from?