I was Vice Chair for the Thistle Oyster Bowl at SSA on October 8,9. I was expecting to take a camera along and take a pic or two for Doryman, but we had little to no wind. We did squeeze a race off late Saturday in about 5 knots to make it a regatta, but Sunday only teased us with some light breezes in the Severn River; flat calm remained in the Bay. The regatta was called by noon.
The Thistle Class is doing as well as any dinghy class on the Eastern seaboard. Talking with class stalwart Don Moore he can list all the clubs where the class was once strong in the 1960's and 1970's and popular regattas were held, but now.... nothing. But that is how it is with all dinghy classes (with maybe the possible exception of the Lasers). It amazes me the small clubs and lakes the Thistles are still sailed. There are the Pennsylvania lake clubs outside of Philadelphia that I've never heard of. There is also a communal fleet of Thistles that are wet sailed all summer in New Castle Delaware. I have said it before; there is no better sailing dinghy to drift about a lake than a Thistle.
I was puzzling why even fiberglass Thistles have wood gunwhales and wood trim and found out it was a class rule,enforced so the class wouldn't look too plastic. Good rule! I also noted that two of the skippers had been sailing coaches in a previous life. In talking with one of the ex-coaches, I found it interesting, that after coaching kids in plastic 420's and Lasers, they were attracted to a classic dinghy like the Thistle.
I came across a YouTube of an intercollegiate regatta sailed down the road on the Potomac River on the same weekend. You get a good feeling on how the wind teased but ultimately became a no-show.
Allan K. Chalmers
3 hours ago