Thistle Class Association




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One-Design Class Type: Dinghy

Was this boat built to be sailed by youth or adults? Both

Approximately how many class members do you have? 900+

About Thistle Class Association

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.

The Thistle is a high-performance one-design racing sailboat that is generally sailed with a three-person crew. Thistles have a main, jib and symmetrical spinnaker sail plan. They’re:
• Consistently fast due to the high sail area to weight ratio
• Quick to plane thanks to the wide, flat stern
• Built to slice through waves with the plumb bow
It’s a fun, fast, responsive boat that does well in a wide variety of conditions. Thistles plane easily in 10-12 knots of breeze and glide effortlessly in light air.

There are more than 50 active Thistle fleets across the US. 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. Thistles sail as a Corinthian class, which means you won’t be sailing against boats with paid crew members (or a paid driver).

The Thistle Class is 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 and 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.

Want to give the Thistle Class a try? Find a fleet near you with our interactive map: If there’s no fleet nearby, give our class secretary a shout at; there’s probably a Thistle owner or two close by.


Boats Produced: 4056

Class boat builder(s):

Beacon Composites
Great Midwest Yachts

Approximately how many boats are in the USA/North America? 3800

Where is your One-Design class typically sailed in the USA? List regions of the country:

Find a fleet near you with our interactive map: States with active fleets: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Montana, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Washington.

Does this class have a spinnaker or gennaker? Yes

Ideal combined weight of range of crew:  3-person teams typically range from 425-500 lbs. Thistles can be double-handed in light or medium wind at approximately 300+ lbs.

Portsmouth Yardstick Rating:  83

Boat Designed in 1945

Beam: 6’0”

Weight of rigged boat without sails: 515 lbs.

Draft: board up: 0′ 6″; board down: 4′ 6″

Mast Height: 24’6″