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!

meeting-your-team

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
Doing ANYTHING for 50 consecutive years is an amazing achievement. Our own Elmer Richards achieved this feat in 2007 by attending 50 consecutive Midwinters East Regattas. Below is the speech he gave at the St Pete Yacht Club to celebrate the event. ... See MoreSee Less
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Here is another video from the TCA Archives. This is from 2007 Midwinters WEST. ... See MoreSee Less
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Here is the awesome recap of 2021 Thistle Nationals in Cleveland. What a great event of which we should all be proud!! Please share with your fleet. ... See MoreSee Less
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Another video from the Thistle Class archives. This one is from 1965 Nationals. Enjoy! ... See MoreSee Less
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