About The thistle Class

Meet The Thistle Class

Welcome! So you’re interested in sailing a Thistle? Let us introduce ourselves.

About the Thistle Class Association

We’re a community of people who love the Thistle and get a thrill out of sailing it with our friends – new and old.

The Thistle Class has been around since 1945 when Sandy Douglass introduced his new one-design sailboat and amazed the naysayers. The class is still growing and active; you can find Thistles – and Thistlers (that’s what we call ourselves) – all across the country.

We have as much fun on shore together as we do racing. You might see group yoga on the grass, a camping chair circle (always room for more!) or an impromptu training session at someone’s boat. We love sharing knowledge and getting people up to speed. Walk up to anyone in the parking lot and ask about their strategy, rigging, mast tune, anything! We’re glad to help.

You’ll find lots of family boats in the Thistle Class, and it’s not unusual to see young kids sailing with their parents or grandparents. Quite a few marriages have come from people getting to know each other through Thistle sailing!

Thistlers are competitive, but we value the camaraderie we have in the Thistle Class.

We often call these people our “Thistle family.” Join us!


Would The Thistle Class Be A Good Fit For You?

“I’ve never really sailed (unless that one time counts?), but it sounds cool.”

New to sailing? You might become a Thistler if:

  • You enjoy being outside and appreciate nature, especially water
  • You’re looking for an exciting new hobby (Like hiking, biking, climbing? So do we!)
  • You want to do that hobby with great people and find your tribe
  • You’re up for a (doable) challenge
  • You love a good adrenaline rush every now and then

In short, if you love being active outside, try sailing a Thistle with us. You’ll enjoy being in the boat – it’s fun and fast – and you’ll be welcomed by a great community of people. (Don’t be stuck on shore…give it a shot!)

Thistle Class Association fun

“I regularly sail other boats, but the Thistle looks interesting.”

Do any of these sound like you?

  • “I just finished college sailing and need to find a new boat to race.”
  • “I don’t have a ton to spend on a boat, but I want something that’s fast and competitive.”
  • “I want great racing in a class where it’s not about the money or the paid crew.”

Looking for fun people to sail with and against? We’d love to meet you and get you in a Thistle. You’ll be part of a welcoming community, and you’ll love the speed and responsiveness of the boat. 

Here’s what new Thistlers who’ve sailed in other classes say
about why they participate in Thistle sailing:

The Thistle provides a great challenge and an opportunity to grow your skills with a fun group of people. If you’ve just bought your first Thistle, your first year of TCA membership is free. And if you’re under 27, the class offsets fees for the big regattas to make them fit into your budget.

The Thistle Class is a proud member of US Sailing
Beacon Composites has been approved as an official Thistle builder! Check out the photos that Alex Venegas of Beacon Composites has shared!photos.google.com/share/AF1QipMWDH6W_mytANIZz9lVZEfR240phSCwoglfENTITrHgkpRMCWpQV_0fW9JT6X8Bcw?pl... ...
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Many of us are probably sitting at our desks right now or getting ready for the evening, imagining going downwind with the swells of the Pacific Ocean and seeing the stunning view of the Mission Beach Boardwalk and the Peninsular Range in San Diego (or as in this photo, the cliffs of La Jolla). As we finish up the second day of Midwinters West safely in our homes, tell us - what do you miss most about MWW? Favorite memory? Any photos from past MWWs to share?(photo from 2012 MWW with Doug Hart [in #3852 with crew Moni Lampe and Cesar Romero] helping to lead the pack) ...
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Anyone know where I can find the PHRF rating for a thistle? ...
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Merry Christmas from the Gillum Family ...
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Eight Bells for Charlie Steigerwald!Charlie was a long time Thistler, parent of Thistling children Julie and Betsy Steigerwald Yingling and grandchildren Charlie and Joy Yingling, past president of the TCA and former national champ! His obituary can be viewed in the link below.Fair winds Charlie!docs.google.com/file/d/1n5H--3WcvwYA_vS7zCJ3rszevK9jMl9-/edit?usp=docslist_api&filetype=msword ...
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