About the Thistle:
The Thistle is a beautiful, high performance racing dinghy that combines grace with speed. Designed in 1945 by American designer Sandy Douglas, the boat and class continue to thrive and are raced by dedicated enthusiasts and enjoyed by families alike. The boat has a planing hull and will plane in 10-12 knots of breeze, but it also moves well in light winds and will outperform many larger boats in these conditions. The Thistle has been recognized by US Sailing as one of the most active one-design classes in the U.S. One of the first performance dinghies, the Thistle features a classic plumb bow flowing to a wide, flat planing stern and a high sail area to weight ratio. The result is a boat that is fun and responsive in a wide variety of conditions.
The original Thistles were constructed of cold molded plywood, using a technique pioneered during WW1 for aircraft construction and used in WWII for PT boats. Wood Thistles remain strong and competitive to this day. Thistle #1 consistently places well in regattas and won the national championship in 1990, forty-five years after it was built. The modern Thistle has updated hardware, spars and rigging but remains true to its one-design principles. New Thistles are still available, and while newly built Thistle hulls are made of fiberglass with built-in flotation, the strict one design specifications help ensure that older wood or glass Thistles remain competitive. One can typically find competitive older fiberglass boats starting around $2500, with newer boats available for around $10,000 when they come onto the market.
Thistles Racing Downwind – Fern Ridge Reservoir, Eugene, OR
The Seattle Thistle Fleet (Fleet #61) is very active, we often have 15 or more boats racing on Lake Washington. Racing experience ranges from novice to expert. The Seattle fleet is home to 2007 Thistle National Women’s Champion, Haley Lhamon, and other former collegiate sailors and top local racers. Skippers and crew of all skill levels are welcome. Our racing schedule (see bottom of this page) includes races on Lake Washington sailed from Leschi on most Wednesdays from mid-April to mid-September, and several “traveling” regattas to great racing venues in the Pacific Northwest. In 2015 we completed 45 Wednesday evening races! Travelling regattas are at fabulous venues such as Sequim Bay, Fern Ridge Reservoir, and Yale Lake. The Seattle fleet usually fields multiple teams who travel to the national regatta, which is held in a different venue around the country each year.
The best way to experience the great competition and camaraderie of Thistle racing is come out and try it! Wednesday nights in the summer are Corinthian Yacht Club of Seattle races. Many fleet members store their boats at the north docks at Leschi Marina on Lake Washington. The address is near 320 Lake Washington Blvd, just North of the commercial buildings — stop by any Wednesday evening from mid April to mid September around 5Pm to meet the fleet, or contact us to arrange for to come out crewing for one of our teams and see for yourself what a great boat the Thistle is and what a great fleet we have going here in Seattle.
Please contact fleet growth and promotions officer Eric Rayl at email@example.com or fleet captain Georgia Lomax at Georgia@blarg.net for more information. Our group discussion list is at: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/seattlethistlefleet.