About the Competition

While some people use their Thistle as a daysailer, the boat loves to be raced. It’s fast, quick to plane, and built to slice through waves.


Where Can I Find Active Thistle Racing?

The Thistle Class is one of the largest one-design classes in the country. There are more than 50 active Thistle fleets across the US (find one near you!). Thistles age extremely well, so well cared-for older boats can be just as fast as new boats. Our one-design rules make sure that racing proves the quality of the sailor rather than the money invested in the boat.

Thistle Fleet Racing

Getting hooked up with a fleet is an excellent way to get started in the Thistle. Fleet members will be happy to take you sailing or get you up to speed if you decide to buy a boat. A fleet near you might have a weeknight or weekend series. 

Thistle Regattas

You’ll find a well-attended local and regional regatta circuit in many areas (check out upcoming Thistle regattas). On a national level, we hold a summertime National Championship that rotates locations and two Midwinter regattas – San Diego, California in February and St. Petersburg, Florida in March.

What can I expect at a Thistle regatta?

Fun and camaraderie

Looking for fun people to sail with and against? This is your boat. When you sail a Thistle, you’ll be part of a welcoming community. We love racing against each other, but we have as much fun on shore as we do on the water. 

“The best part about the Thistle Class is how it balances great talent and competition with camaraderie, friendliness, and good times. I like being in serious races against seriously good sailors and then coming together as friends on shore to discuss the day’s races. Also, the boat is just flat-out fun.”

– Will, age 30 

Stiff Competition

Thistles aren’t the hot new boat, but there’s a reason the class has been strong for 75 years. The boat’s faster than you think. And the racing? Top notch. Whether you’re sailing in big fleets or small, on open water or on small inland lakes, you’ll find talented sailors.

Thistles sail as a Corinthian class, which means you won’t be sailing against boats with paid crew members (or a paid driver).

And A Helping Hand

One of the unique things about Thistle sailors is their willingness to share tips and tricks. Whether it’s official, impromptu or casual talk around the boat, someone’s always happy to help you improve. 

  • Coach TCA class at Midwinters East (St. Petersburg, Florida)
  • Expert roundtables at our Nationals and Midwinters regattas
  • Clinics the day before many major events
  • Webinars sharing tips from top Thistlers
  • Conversations with the people around you about!

Here’s What People Say About Why They Sail Thistles:

Planning to skipper a fleet race or regatta?

Make sure you’re a TCA member first. Only active-level TCA members are permitted to skipper in races where the Thistle is sailed as a one-design boat. The boat you’re sailing needs to be registered and dues-paid before the event.

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