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

Happy Thanksgiving! Thanksgiving is about gathering together with family and although it looks different this year we hope you are happy healthy and safe. What is your favorite thistle family memory? ...

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"it looks so peaceful out there" is something I hear a lot...if they only knew. ...

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...your Thistle misses you. ...

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Current Thistle national champion, Greg Griffin training future crew at this past weekend's Great Pumpkin Regatta at Birmingham Sailing Club ...

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