One-Design Showcase

About the Thistle

The Thistle is a high performance one design racing sailboat that is generally sailed with a three person crew. The Thistle Class Association is recognized as one of the largest and best one-design classes in the country.

Thistle fleets are located throughout the US and welcome new and experienced sailors. Fleet members are happy to take new Thistle sailors out sailing and help get new boat owners up to speed. Joining a fleet and crewing is an excellent way to get started in the Thistle. Instructional DVD’s also help sailors get up to speed.

One Design Thistle

The TCA publishes a top-notch magazine, the Bagpipe, which not only reports on all the class news, but often includes rigging and go-fast tips.

The class culture makes this Thistle unique. The competitive design and caliber of sailors attracts top sailors. The class also enjoys family camaraderie and often teams are comprised of family members. The Thistle is ideal for junior sailors and many regattas encourage youth participation with reduced fees for junior members.

Designed by Sandy Douglass, the Thistle debuted in 1945. The sail plan consists of a main, jib, and spinnaker. The boat planes easily in 10-12 knots of breeze yet will also glide effortlessly in light air. The class firmly believes in the one-design principles thus keeping all boats competitive.

New boats are available from the class-approved builder, Great Midwest Yacht Company. Used boats can be found at a variety of price points. The best places to find used boats include the “Classifieds” page here.

The Thistle Class Association is a proud member of US SAILING.


Class Information:

Class Contact: Joy Martin

Class Contact Email: [email protected]

Class Contact Phone: 315-945-4571

Class Website:

Social Media: Facebook | Twitter 

Class Specs

LOA: 17 ft.

Beam: 6 ft.

Draft (up/dn): 6 ft. / 4 ft. 6 in.

Weight: 515 lbs.

Sail Area (main/jib): 191 sq. ft.

Sail Area (spib):  220 sq. ft.