Just a quick comment on the singlehander wars in the U.S. market, as gleaned from talking to the manufacturers reps at the U.S. Sailboat Show. (I've put the dinghies up in the order I visited their stands.)
Melges 14 - (Previous posts here, here and here.) Around one hundred Melges 14's have been built with about half of them going overseas (interest is strong in Germany and Italy). Nearly all of the U.S Melges 14's are in the Midwest, the backyard of Melges Boatworks. There was no racing schedule this past year but the class did hold their first regatta at Lake Max, Culver, Indiana this past weekend. (Video from the class Facebook page.) My feeling, in talking with the Melges salesman, is they are angling the Melges 14 towards a more general purpose crowd, particularly with their large cockpit (though the 14 is certainly racy enough.) For a mid-winters, there is some thought at piggy-backing a Melges 14 regatta off a Melges 24 regatta in Florida.
RS Aero - (Previous posts here and here.) I hadn't realized that Zim Sailing had become the East Coast rep for RS Sailing (evidently this happened last year just after the Show) and the RS boats were featured on the Zim Sailing stand at this year's show. The RS Aero is a clear leader in quantity, hundreds have been built (I forgot to ask for a specific number), there is a strong presence in Europe and the RS Aero can be found in ones and twos in most areas of the U.S. (but surprising, no activity yet in the Annapolis area). The big concentrations of RS Aero activity in the U.S. are the Pacific Northwest and the Northeast where there are some nasceant fleets and organized racing. For more detail on RS Aero activity, there is no better place on the InterWebs than to click over to Tillerman's blog.
There you have it; the RS Aero is gaining a foothold in the Pacific Northwest and the Northeast, the Melges 14 is percolating in the Midwest. If you were taking a round-about tour of the U.S., you would more likely bump into an RS Aero than a Melges 14. (But a RS Aero or a Melges 14 sighting would still remain very rare, as it remains true today, nearly every yacht club in the U.S. has some number of Lasers kicking around the dinghy park.) Unlike the Laser, which exploded on the U.S dinghy scene in the 1970's, given the factors at work in 2016, I would expect these new singlehanders to chart a more gradual acceptance into the sailing scene.
Addendum October 20, 2016: Tillerman left a comment indicating I am under-reporting the numbers and activity of RS Aero sailing in the U.S. I've moved his comment over to the main post.
"Thanks for the update on the RS Aero and the plug for my blog.
"I believe over a thousand RS Aeros have been sold worldwide, and the biggest countries by sales are UK, US and Germany in that order. About 150 have been sold in the US. In the first year, boats were sold in 39 countries on 4 continents - not sure of the latest numbers.
"You are correct that there are active RS Aero fleets in the Northeast and Pacific Northwest. There are also fleets in southern California, Florida and Texas. The RS Aero scene in Texas is really heating up with 14 RS Aeros already registered for the Wurstfest Regatta next month. There were 4 RS Aero regattas in New England this year with 16 and 17 boats at a couple of them. And there were 35 RS Aeros at the US Nationals at the Columbia River Gorge this year.
"There will definitely be two RS Aero regattas on back-to-back weekends in Florida this winter, and early indications are that attendance will be in the 20s at least.
"The RS Aero has World Sailing international class status now and the first RS Aero Worlds will be at Carnac in France next year.