The Thistle is a high-performance one-design racing boat that can also be used for daysailing. Designed in 1945, the Thistle has been carefully modernized to reflect new technologies while keeping all boats competitive.

It carries a lot of sail for its size, planing easily in 10-12 knots of wind. The sail plan consists of a main, jib, and spinnaker. This family-friendly boat features a plumb bow, straight sheer, thin rails and no decking. The rounded bottom provides stability, making it ideal for beginners. It’s usually raced with a three-person crew.

Boat Specifications

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.



40mm Swivel Block40mm Fixed Block22mm CB CarSmall Stand Up Base Spring22mm Low Beam CB Track40mm Swivel BlockSwivel Ratchet BlockSwivel Ratchet Block150 Cam-Matic Swivel BaseMicro Cam-Matic Ball Bearing CleatMicro FairleadMicro FairleadMicro Cam-Matic Ball Bearing CleatCam-Matic Ball Bearing CleatFlairleadBullseye FairleadEndstopEndstopEndstopEndstop22mm CB Car29mm Fixed Block29mm Fixed Block29mm Cheek Block

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To control the big main, skippers use two 40 mm Carbo® singles on the boom and one on the traveler car. Some skippers like to cleat the mainsheet and bolt a swivel base with a 57 mm ratchet block to the end of the centerboard cap. To help with getting the boom across quicker, a jibing line is attached to the boom at the same location as the forward block. When it comes time to jibe, the skipper pulls the jibing line across instead of pulling in yards of mainsheet.


All Thistles must have a traveler track across the top of the transom. Use a low-beam Small Boat track with a car and a 40 mm Carbo block shackled to the car. Some boats opt to not use a traveler on that track and instead bolt a 40 mm Carbo single stand-up block in the middle. The control lines are led outboard and turn forward to 29 mm Carbo cheek blocks and micro cams with fairlead covers. The advantage of using a traveler is the ability to bring the car above centerline while sailing upwind and easing the main to centerline to induce vertical twist that is fast in choppy conditions.

Hiking Strap Adjusters

Each crew gets their own hiking strap. Being able to adjust the strap length helps the crew keep the boat flat and keep themselves from dragging in the water. The crew uses looser straps while sailing up wind to hike hard and stay out of the helmsman's sight lines, while the boat is heeling over. They use tighter straps when reaching to make moving in and out easier.

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