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

Berlin Yacht Club’s Thistle Fleet #120 presently includes 10 boats. Berlin can boast of successes in national and regional competition with current and former members taking 3rd and 11th at the 2016 Thistle Nationals in Eugene, Oregon; and 2nd and 3rd in the Sarasota, Florida 2017 Winter Regatta.

Fleet members are happy to take new Thistle sailors out sailing and help get new boat owners up to speed. Crewing is an excellent way to get started in the Thistle. Instructional DVD’s also help sailors get up to speed.

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 the Thistle unique. The competitive design and high caliber sailing 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 on Lake Erie 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 builders, Great Midwest Yacht Company, and North West One Design. Used boats, both fiberglass and wood, can be found at a variety of price points. The best places to find used boats include the Classifieds page on Thistle web page ( Members of the Berlin fleet are eager to help you locate a boat of your own.

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


LOA 17' 0" 

Beam 6' 0" 

Draft up/dn 6"/4’6" 

Weight 515 lb 

SA (main and jib) 191 sq. ft. 

SA (spin) 220 sq. ft.