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posted Sep 24, 2017, 6:01 PM by Thistle Class

Save the Dates - Winter fun in Warm Sunny Florida

The dates are in! Start with the Tampa Tune-Up at Davis Island on Sat Feb 24 through Mon Feb 26. On Feb 24th there will be optional informal racing. People are encouraged to let their crew drive or otherwise mix up their teams. Races on Feb 25 and 26 will be scored for the regatta. Camping is allowed. 

From there head over to the St. Petersburg Yacht Club for Thistle Midwinters East, Tuesday Feb 27 through Friday March 2. Yes we are having 4 days of racing at St. Pete this year.  Come join the fun!


ON THE WATER CLINIC on Friday, JULY 21st, with Ingham and Abdullah at Chautauqua Lake

posted Jul 14, 2017, 8:21 PM by Thistle Class   [ updated Jul 19, 2017, 6:38 PM ]

Mike Ingham and Paul Abdullah
will be holding an ON THE WATER CLINIC on Friday, July 21st, just before the start of CHAUTAUQUA NATIONALS.  On the water clinic begins at 1pm and will be followed by an on land debrief.  It should be a great Go Fast session with some of our best sailors.  

Also, Mike and Paul will be sharing "Go Fast Tips" each morning at 8:30 near camping area at the North tent.  
The sessions are opened to everyone and is free of charge.  
See this FLYER for more details.

2017 Nationals Measurement Info

posted Jun 10, 2017, 8:40 AM by Michael Lovett   [ updated Jun 10, 2017, 8:43 AM ]

Measurement update from Chris Pollak – Chief Measurer:

It looks like we’re going to have a gangbuster turnout of geezers at the Chautauqua Nationals! Of the 87 pre-registrants, 38 are Old Goats (50 years and older) and 18 of us are genuine geezers (full disclosure – I am one!) who qualify for the Milnes Trophy (60 years and older). In deference to us seniors, we will not be measuring centerboards for the first time in three years but we will continue to use a slimmed down measurement process. This will make it easier to get the 80 plus boats measured in a timely manner and ease the staffing requirements. We will once again rely on volunteers from all fleets to sign up for a time slots to serve on the Nationals measurement committee. Steve Lavender will lead this group as the local representative.

Here’s what we will check: 
1. Safety equipment required by the Coast Guard and/or the Thistle Class:
o Anchor & chain - 8 pound minimum
o Anchor line length – 100 feet minimum and line shall not be less than 1/4” in diameter or made up of more than two pieces of rope plus a chain
o USCG approved PFD’s – one per person 
o One additional “throwable” life saving device (life jacket or cushion)
o Paddle or oar 
o Bailing device(s) – 2 gallons minimum
o Whistle

2. All up weight – 515 pounds minimum.  Weight does not include sails, jib sheets, spinnaker pole, paddle, life preservers, anchor and line, and similar readily-removable items.  The rudder, tiller, mainsheet and attached hardware and rigging is included.  Also note that Hull Corrector Weights shall be firmly attached to the hull, either exposed, or, if inside a tank, located immediately adjacent to an inspection port. Half of the weight shall be located at or ahead of the chain plates with the other half located at least 6’ 0” aft of the chain plates. Any weight in excess of 15 pounds shall be evenly divided and placed half in the bow and half in the stern with the two halves at least 16’ apart.

3. Sail measurement – two mainsails, two jibs, one spinnaker (we will only measure sails which do not bear a previous Nationals measurement stamp or mark).  

4. Rudder weight – 8 pounds minimum.  Note that rudder corrector weights must be permanently attached.

5. Mainsail foot – 11’-11” maximum.  This effectively controls both the maximum mainsail foot dimension and the minimum length of the boom for which there is no specific dimension shown on the Plans.  We will check this at the Nationals by using a measuring stick to mark the boom at a point 11’-11” from the interior surface of the mast sail slot.  What you may not realize is that putting a stop on the boom at this point could be an improper placement.  The Sail Plan says “CLOTH OF SAIL MUST NOT BE ABLE TO BE EXTENDED BEYOND THIS LENGTH”.  Depending on the grommet configuration, bolt rope and sail slug on the clew, you may need to reposition the stop so that the aft most part of the mainsail cannot go beyond the 11’- 11” mark.   For those of us who are maxing out the foot tension on the main in almost all conditions, this is worth checking before you arrive in Chautauqua.

6. Mast J Dimension  
Wood or Gold Aluminum: 4’–10” (+/– 1 1/2”)
New Aluminum: 4’–10 1/2” (+/– 1 1/2”)
Measured from aft most point of forestay to the front of the mast, parallel to the horizontal base line with rig tensioned and butt shimmed as if sailing in moderate conditions.

Please remember that it is up to you to make sure that your boat, sails, and equipment are in compliance with all the Thistle Class rules whether or not they are spot checked at a Nationals. 

2017 NATIONALS UPDATE - Local Knowledge: Lake Chautauqua

posted May 31, 2017, 11:08 AM by Thistle Class   [ updated May 31, 2017, 1:40 PM by Michael Lovett ]

Chautauqua Lake hosted C Scow Nationals in 2010.
With the Thistle National Championship coming to Chautauqua Lake for the first time this July, I suspect I’m not the only sailor in the fleet looking for some local knowledge on this western New York venue. The most active one-design class on the lake is Chautauqua YC’s C Scow fleet. A dozen of the flat-bottomed 20-footers race on Saturday and Sunday afternoons throughout the summer. Steve Viehe and Jim Neville have been two of the fleet’s top dogs for years. Viehe, from Pittsburgh, describes himself as a “seat of the pants” racer; he calls Neville, from Cleveland, “more of a guru.”


A Typical Summer Day

The primary local factor affecting conditions on Chautauqua Lake is its impossible-to-ignore neighbor, Lake Erie, located 10 miles to the north and 800 feet downhill.


“Chautauqua Lake runs perpendicular to the Lake Erie shoreline,” says Viehe. “On a nice, hot summer day, in a high pressure system, we get a sea effect from Lake Erie. In the morning, the wind is typically light, out of the south, as the cool land air goes toward Lake Erie. That breeze dies around 10:30 a.m. or 11 a.m. In the afternoon, as the land heats up, we get a nice, steady breeze out of the northwest, right along the axis of the lake. That comes in around 2 p.m. and lasts until maybe 6:00 p.m.”


Just a Few Quirks

Neville considers Chautauqua Lake to be a very fair playing field—with just a few quirks. “It’s a very sailable lake for newcomers,” says Neville, who has also raced Lasers, Lightnings, and Snipes, and 505s. “You can read the water, and there isn’t anything super quirky about the area where [Thistles] will be sailing.


“In addition to the sea breeze,” he continues, “I think we get a little valley wind, where the hills down lake heat up and pull the wind to them. Whether that's true or not, who knows. Also, if you're sailing in the northern basin, people say the afternoon wind will tend to migrate west, because it has the tendency to follow the valleys. Any direction the wind comes from, you have to be aware of where the hills are and where valleys come into the lake. It's a typical inland lake, in that the wind will parallel the hills and come in directly out of the valleys. South of [Mayville], Dewittville Bay has a tendency to feed wind out of it. When the wind comes from the direction of Mayville, which is on a hill, it typically doesn’t come straight down the hill; it will try to go either side of it.”


As you might expect, the wind gets less predictable when it blows across (rather than along) the lake. “When it comes off the western shore, coming off the [Chautauqua] Institution, a lot of times you’ll start over in Dewittville Bay,” says Neville. “As you cross the lake, headed toward the belltower, that’s when things can get strange, depending on how tight the buoy is tucked in to shore.”


Powerboat chop can be a an issue on the weekends, but not during the week. Another thing to watch for, says Viehe: weeds. “We do get some weeds later in the summer, especially after they’ve been out with the weed cutters.”


Watching the Weather

As far as forecasting, Neville suggests keeping an eye on what’s happening in Erie (Pennsylvania) and Buffalo. “Erie and Buffalo will give you an indication about what might happen to the wind over the course of the day,” he says. “Erie provides a touch of an early warning. If Erie has wind and we don’t, you know it’s going to arrive in a half hour, as soon as it gets up the hill.”


By and large, both Neville and Viehe describe Chautauqua’s sailing conditions as dependable and predictable. “Like Steve [Viehe] says, it’s ‘seat of the pants’ racing,” says Neville. “You can see the wind on the water, and you can create your plan based on what you observe. There isn’t that formula that some lakes have, where it’s like, ‘You gotta go this way.’”

Help Nationals Go Green

posted May 1, 2017, 5:01 PM by Michael Lovett   [ updated May 2, 2017, 5:46 AM ]

In an effort to make the 2017 Thistle National Championship as environmentally friendly as possible
, we’ve registered as a “Clean Regatta” with Sailors for the Sea, a conservation organization dedicated to engaging the boating community in protecting the oceans. 

Of course, registering is the easy part. In order to achieve “silver” certification, we need to reduce the regatta’s impact in a number of areas—everything from going paperless to eliminating disposable plastic water bottles to ensuring fuel-efficient crash boats. And we need your help.

Would you like to help Nationals go green? To volunteer, submit your info at SignUp.com, or contact  Danielle (Bower) Buehler.

Here are a few of the requirements for Sailors for the Sea Clean Regatta certification:

Paperless Regatta Management
Use an online Regatta Management System to handle all electronic registration. Switch to a flat screen monitor or whiteboard to broadcast event results.

Water Bottle Reduction
100% elimination of all single-use plastic water bottles at event

Water Refilling Stations
Make water coolers or water jugs available to refill water bottles on land

Responsible Dinnerware
Eliminate straws

Ensure 1:1 ratio of Landfill to Recycling bins.

Responsible Signage
Make sure all waste bins are clearly marked RECYCLING, COMPOST, or LANDFILL. Make sure all signage is made from fabric or sustainably sourced material, not PVC.

No Discharge 
Remind all participants in Notice of Race (NOR) and at skippers’ meeting that sewage discharge is illegal.

Toxic-free Cleaning 
Suggest a “Water Only Washdown” protocol for boats at event. Require use of nontoxic cleaning products.

Oil Spill Prevention
Create “Safe Refueling Areas” and ensure proper training to all staff.

Efficient Power Boats
Replace any two-stroke engines with more fuel-efficient four-stroke engines.

Reminder: Two Amendment Proposals Require Votes At Nationals

posted Apr 18, 2017, 3:23 PM by Thistle Class   [ updated Apr 18, 2017, 3:37 PM ]

There are TWO AMENDMENT PROPOSALS that will be voted on at Chautauqua Nationals this year.  Links to these are below.  PLEASE REVIEW these amendments and post your opinions.  Thanks.

Greg Griffin Wins Orange Peel Regatta

posted Mar 24, 2017, 4:21 PM by Thistle Class   [ updated Mar 24, 2017, 4:47 PM ]

Orange Peel Regatta Recap by John Norton:

"Wow, what a great weekend we had. As everyone knows I haven't been doing a lot of sailing but this past weekend reminded me why nothing beats sailing in a regatta over the weekend. Why you ask... well for me

1. Road Trip- who doesn't like getting away.
2. Sailing - who doesn't like that
3. Competition- who doesn't like that
4. Beer- besides my wife who doesn't like that.
5. Seeing old friends and making new ones - who doesn't like that.
6. Sunburn- not supposed to like it but it's a guilty pleasure.

Need I go on.
It was a fantastic weekend. Friday was a bust. We had a little chalk
Talk and tried to sail but there really wasn't enough wind to do much.
I was hoping to get a couple of starts and short races to gel the team
(Howard, Kaitlyn and Me) and gets some rust off me and the boat but we
had to settle for gelling in the bar singing irish diddy's. We may have
gelled a weee to much.
Saturday morning yielded cloudless skies and shifty westerly. Our first
start was okay, we broke the cardinal rule of going left after we said
pre-start we wanted to go right but we were in good company but they
were ahead enough to get some shifts first and velocity first that they
stayed with the right side but we didn't. Nothing like being deep at
the first mark of the first race of the regatta to demoralize the crew.
We hung in there but on a light downwind leg did not communicate well
and lost more boats. A 19 out of 23 was in the books. Our Optimistic
Goal on the ride down was Top 5. Race 2 the wind came up a little more
and we had a decent start We basically followed rule 1 and kept the boat

pointed toward the mark and sailed as fast as we could. We did okay
that race and finished 9th, helping to lift our spirits. Race 3 start
we were in trouble at the start, I was approaching on port, could not
find a hole and the velocity picked up and the wind swung left favoring
the pin, we were headed toward the boat with no hole to tack into All I
was thinking was S#@t,S#@t,S#@t,S#@t! Ask the crew because I guess I
said it also. I just prayed for something to happen because I wan't
going to be able to take the Wrath of Kaitlyn if I had a third row
start. Well don't you know the starboard boats could barely make the
line so there was just enough room for me to start on port a hair late
down near the boat. With all the speed from the broad reach, we shot
out to a pretty clear horizon, there is a God. We sailed well that
race, I tried to go fast, Howard and Kaitlyn fed the info. and tactics
and we finished 7th. Good enough for 10 after day 1

Sunday we woke up to light wind in the parking lot but whitecaps on the
river. Oh Boy, haven't done this in a while. It was just about 60
degrees and some forward crew from other boats who were going to be
coldest hesitated a bit. We sailed out in conditions I hadn't seen in a
little while, only to have my ability questioned by my forward crew.
It was one of those mornings, no need to raise the jib before the
warning, the wind is steady and big. So we reached back and forth, got
soaked and waited for the 5 minute gun. Oh and it was a Triangle
course, I didn't even know they did those anymore. Big air gybes always
fun for spectators not so much for 56 year old skippers. We had a good
start, poked out to boats around, hiked and sailed as best we could.
The fast crews were around us and we were holding, ok. Enough sailing on
starboard, we have a lane let's tack. Ooops, John Dad, dropped the
tiller, another refrain of S#@t,S#@t,S#@t,S#@t, back onto starobard,
good news, no fouls and only lost 4 boatlenghts and found ourselves in
decent shape at the weather mark, We do a W-L-W-R-L-W triangle so it
was no problem setting the chute on the 2nd leg for dead downwind. We
sailed as fast as boats around us which was good. We did not sail as
fast as top crews, but not surprised with our limited time together and
practice in these conditions. Back upwind we hiked then off to the
reach. Thanks goodness the reaches were broad and we had no problems.
We finished 7th again. 2nd race Sunday the wind stayed up. Nothing
fancy here stated conservative with a times start on Starboard coming
into the line from behind and below the RC boat. Again we held with
everyone, to my surprise, dropped the tiller one more time and finished
9th so results 19 9 7 7 9 for 8th place.
Given our average of 8 in the first race and we would have been 6th
overall , 1 spot from our goal. John or Dad was exhausted but very

John Norton

St Pete Yacht Club Hosts Midwinters EAST for the 62nd Consecutive Year

posted Mar 21, 2017, 6:38 AM by Thistle Class   [ updated Mar 24, 2017, 4:24 PM ]

There were 34 Thistle teams that migrates to St Petersburg Yacht Club for the 62 CONSECUTIVE Midwinters EAST Regatta which was held March 1-3.  There were 3 races sailed in each of the first two days of the regatta, but high winds on day 3 cancelled racing on the final day of the event.  Mike Ingham, Dan Fein and Delia Ingham won the event for the 3rd consecutive year.  Greg Griffin finished the regatta in 2nd place and Kyle Finefrock finished in 3rd.  Full scores are below:

2017 Thistle Midwinters East Regatta
Preliminary Cumulative Results

Select to view a specific Class:           
Sail NumberYacht NameYacht DesignSkipper/CrewRace
Midwinters East Regatta Racing
One Design Division
1.  USA 39693969ThistleMike Ingham82111316.0
2.  USA 3976ResilientThistleGreg Griffin34534120.0
3.  USA 3948Dad BodThistleKyle Finefrock76465836.0
4.  USA 1010870ThistleMike Gillum236916238.0
5.  USA 1021Dear DarlaThistlePatrick O'Connor5511102538.0
6.  USA 39973997ThistleScott Griffin120759446.0
7.  USA 3945BananawindThistleJack Finefrock41113411649.0
8.  USA 4028Proper VilllianzThistleCraig Koschalk1815273752.0
9.  USA 1473Huff and PuffThistleKevin Arrow12712126958.0
10.  USA 779Lot LizardThistleKevin Bradley2011011141773.0
11.  USA 3843Stroppy CowThistleTom Lawton101292735/RET75.0
12.  USA 3890Alma & LouiseThistleThomas Hubbell131082181878.0
13.  USA 4003Hot TubThistleMike McBride6161815121683.0
14.  USA 4024EllieThistleJohn Baker9221714101385.0
15.  USA 1784ThistleThistleNicole Shedden1719148131990.0
16.  USA 1166GreenthistleWill Tyner251815161811103.0
17.  USA 4032Boris BadenovThistleSam Brauer24819221922114.0
18.  USA 635Jo-JoThistleCharles Krafft29922182514117.0
19.  USA 4036DescendentThistleDrew Daugherty163021133010120.0
20.  USA 3572FreeThistleConor Ruppen212530171512120.0
21.  USA 3889LyleThistleRodney Glover271425192023128.0
22.  USA 3796Beyond Bitchin'ThistleLoren Hoffman152923272115130.0
23.  USA 4035Crime SceneThistlePaul Abdullah1113335/DNS35/DNS35/DNS132.0
24.  USA 3849D'OHThistleJohn Howell222324201727133.0
25.  USA 4039B-FlatThistleScott Buehler142629232721140.0
26.  USA 3828Family MagicThistleDan Russell282816252320140.0
27.  USA 37353735 (*)ThistleJohn Hutt19172035/OCS2624141.0
28.  USA 3187RedlineThistleBill Kitchens302126262226151.0
29.  USA 3624Little SynergyThistleGerry Christman262427242828157.0
30.  USA 4045Satin SheetsThistleDavid Deptula232728312425158.0
31.  USA 3077NoneThistleGary Bonner313231293130184.0
32.  USA 1995BlueThistleMays Dickey333132282935/DNF188.0
33.  USA 40234023ThistleEdward John32343335/DSQ3229195.0
34.  USA 3818cwch cyflymThistleJack Mahaney343335/DNF3035/DNF35/DNS202.0

Second Annual Sarasota Winter Regatta Another Success

posted Mar 21, 2017, 6:22 AM by Thistle Class   [ updated Mar 24, 2017, 4:10 PM ]

There were 28 boats that attended the second year of the Sarasota Winter Regatta held at the Sarasota Sailing Squadron from February 26-28.  There were 9 FABULOUS races sailed on the Sarasota Bay in winds from 8 to 16 knots.  Mike Ingham won this event with Kyle Finefrock in second, and Jack Finefrock in third.  Complete results below:

A Fleet (24 boats) (top)
Series Standing - 9 races scored

Information is final.
Regatta results last updated: Tuesday, February 28, 2017 1:18:31 PM CDT
Click on race number to view detailed race information.

PosSail  Boat  Skipper 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9 TotalPos
3969  3969  Mike Ingham  1  1  3  3  1  2  10  1  1  23  
3948  Still Dad Bod  kyle finefrock  6  2  4  2  4  1  2  11  3  35  
3945  Bananawind  Jack Finefrock  2  4  6  10  3  13  5  2  4  49  
4024  Ellie  E Baker  13  8  1  5  2  3  6  14  9  61  
3997    Scott Griffin  15  3  2  11  5  10  12  3  6  67  
3890  Alma&Louise  Thomas Hubbell  3  6  12  13  8  5  1  12  15  75  
3572  Free  Conor Ruppen  4  12  16  4  12  14  7  4  8  81  
4003  Hot Tub  Mike McBride  11  14  5  1  18  4  8  7  14  82  
3843  Stroppy Cow  Tom Lawton  5  9  18  12  9  8  9  6  7  83  
1010    Mike Gillum  8  10  13  7  6  11  11  8  10  84  
3889  Lyle  Rodney Glover  12  7  14  9  16  15  14  9  5  101  
1473  Huff & Puff  K Arrow  16  15  7  16  7  16  13  13  2  105  
1784    Nicole Shedden  7  5  11  14  11  6  18  21  22  115  
1021  Dear Darla  Patrick O'Connor  10  18  8  21  13  12  4  20  12  118  
1266  Wood Duck  Tom Doran  22  19  15  15  21  7  3  10  13  125  
635  Jo-Jo  Charles Krafft  9  16  10  20  15  19  19  5  19  132  
4032  4032  Sam Brauer  23  17  9  22  10  9  16  19  17  142  
3828  Family Magic  Dan Russell  17  24  17  8  14  18  20  15  18  151  
4045  Satin Sheets  David Deptula  14  11  19  17  17  17  24  18  16  153  
3849  D'OH  John Howell  18  13  24  18  20  20  15  16  20  164  
4039  B-Flat  Scott Buehler  24  21  22  6  19  22  17  17  21  169  
3624  Little Synergy  Gerry Christman  21  20  23  23  23  23  22  22  11  188  
1995  Blue  Mays Dickey  20  22  21  19  22  21  23  23  23  194  
3187  Redline  Bill Kitchens  19  23  20  24  24  24  21  25/DNS  25/DNC  205  

B Fleet (4 boats) (top)
Series Standing - 9 races scored

Information is final.
Regatta results last updated: Tuesday, February 28, 2017 1:18:31 PM CDT
Click on race number to view detailed race information.

PosSail  Boat  Skipper 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9 TotalPos
3775    John Hutt  1  1  1  1  1  1  1  1  1  9  
3077    Gary Bonner  2  2  4  2  2  2  2  2  2  20  
4023    EDWARD 711096R JOHN  3  4  3  3  4  3  3  3  3  29  
3818  cwch cyflym  Jack Mahaney  5/DNC  3  2  5/DNS  3  5/DNC  4/DNF  5/DNS  5/DNC  37  

Sam Ingham Beats Dad to Win the Larry Klein Match Race Championship

posted Mar 9, 2017, 8:01 PM by Thistle Class

The Larry Klein memorial Match Race was changed somewhat from other years. The 3 race qualifying series was out, and double elimination was in. Cesar Romero used the internet to find a 9 participant double elimination bracket to fill in with boat numbers. The course was set as a 4 leg zig-zag with both port and starboard mark roundings and a sepa­rate finish line. That meant that more than one race could be going on the course at the same time, just five minutes later.

Sunday morning was chilly, cloudy, and calm. A little rain had fallen overnight, and drizzle threatened most of the day. The skippers’ meeting explained all about the box, the umpires, the flags, and the various colored marks. Some of the extra time gained by dropping the qualifying series was lost in waiting for the wind to come up. Once it did the Race Commit­tee got things moving quickly.

All boats had their first race before the One Loss Bracket began eliminating teams. As teams left the field, the others had less and less time to relax before returning to the fray. Sam Ingham was sent to the One Loss Bracket after his first race against John Baker. But from that point on, he won his way to the top of that bracket including a rematch with Bak­er. Meanwhile Mike Ingham knocked out all his competition in the Winning Bracket, until the finals where he faced his son, Sam.

Sam won their first encounter, but that meant they each had just one loss. One more race was needed, and Sam got out ahead, but was careful to cover his dad right from the start of the first beat. On the second leg, Sam got his spinnaker pole up early to be ready after the upcoming starboard rounding. The third leg was downwind where Sam pulled further ahead. Mike closed the distance somewhat on the last beat, but Sam kept him covered for about 2/3 of the beat before he aimed right for the finish.

In the end Mike Gillum and his all-family team took 3rd Place, Mike Ingham, a proud father, took 2nd Place, and Sam Ingham claimed 1st Place.

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