A Hail from the Rail

Matt FisherFleet News, Hoover Sailing Club, Leadline

The Hoover Thistle Fleet 126 held the Hoover PLAID/Last Splash Regatta on October 17th.   (PLAID = Please Leave Appropriate Interpersonal Distance) 24 boats attended the one-day regatta in crisp conditions with a great breeze out of the SW blowing 7-12.  The Hoover Thistle Fleet actually held 3 one-day regattas this year with great success.    We appreciate the outstanding RC work from the always impressive MC fleet, with Clark Wade and Richard Blake on the RC boat,  Chris and Trish Fogle on one safety boat, and Larry Basford and Larry Graves on another. 

The Lake Erie District has a great fall series starting the weekend after Labor Day.   There are 5 regattas—Atwood, Sandusky, North Cape, Crescent (Detroit) and Hoover—that count toward the Fall Series.    The best 10 races for each skipper are counted for the Fall Series Championship.  District Governor Conor Ruppen and Carrie Patterson do an outstanding job of promoting and helping manage each regatta.  All of these regattas were run with appropriate COVID distancing and masking.   For registration at each regatta Conor and Carrie would walk through the parking lot taking temperatures and collecting a nominal entry fee.   We all appreciate the leadership of the class officers in these times and we need to continue to perfect our efforts to keep everyone comfortable in these conditions., hopefully not for too much longer.   Hoover is the last regatta and the awards for the Lake Erie District were handed out after the PLAID regatta awards.

I won’t go race by race but will highlight some of the key aspects of the regatta.  My niece, Gwen Mulvey, and I crewed for my son Stu. Our best race was a 4th and that was likely the best we were around any mark.   But our worst race was a 6th.    We ended up winning the regatta with those finishes, but I admit we were kind of keeping track of some of the big finished by out competition.   The Thistle class does not have throw out races no matter how many races are sailed and everyone in the top 7 had to count a 12th or worse.     Stu was getting great starts, often one of the top 2 or 3 starts in the fleet.   But half way up the first beat we were often on the wrong side of a shift and would round the first mark usually worse than 7th or 8th.   But we would catch boats and sailed a consistent—albeit very boring appearing races—and were able to pull it out. 

With the fall series finale at Hoover and the strong Ohio contingent that has always been in the Lake Erie Districts this PLAID regatta had some of the top sailors in the class.  3 of the competitors have been in the top 5 in the Nationals in recent years.    The Taylor brothers, with Ethan steering and Will crewing had a great regatta but again, had to count a 12.   I have been following these two for 3 or 4 years.   They bought their boat 3766 a few years ago and totally refurbished it and it looks outstanding.   Conor, Carrie and Ed Spengman were 3rd and Tom Hubble and Bobby White were 4th.  Craig Koschalk with his wife Lauren and Ryan Kyle sailed impressively, but had to count an 18th in the first race.    I don’t know exactly what happened that race but the      team put together a great string of finishes in the last 5 races.

Locals Steve Lavender with Bob McNitt crewing sailed an impressive regatta finishing 7th, and were only 3 points out of second.  Mike McBride with his wife Kimberly and Jerry Pignolet also sailed well finishing 8th.

With the Nationals 2 hours up the road and a strong spring series the fleet is looking forward to a fast winter, midwinters hopefully, and a great 2021.
To see photos from this regatta visit

For photos from the PLAID Regatta https://www.lisaksphotos.com/Sailing/2020-Thistle-PLAID-Regatta

Additional Thistle News
by Ann Jones


We are saddened to report the recent passing of former HSC and Fleet 126 member Charlie Steigerwald, at the age of 89. Charlie won 1972 Thistle Nationals with his daughter, Julie, and former Club member and Thistle builder, Doug Laber, crewing. In 1970, Charlie finished Thistle Nationals in second place with former HSC Commodore Dale Trott crewing. Charlie raced his Thistle #1619, “Windlassie” for many years at Hoover before moving to Cleveland. While he was a member of our Club he won the 1973 Jameson Good Sportsmanship Award, and he certainly deserved it. Also, Julie Steigerwald won the Rippel Junior Sailor of the Year Award in 1972, and she later raced Thistle #1619 as a HSC member.

Grandson Charlie Yingling now actively races #1619 and attended at least one Fleet 126 regatta last summer. Windlassie is a gorgeous natural woodie, both inside and out, and she is featured on the cover of our October/November 2020 Thistle magazine, Bagpipe.

One of my personal favorite memories of Charlie was of the time he attended a seminar at the launch ramp south of Smothers Road on Sunbury Road. Now, other skippers who attended that seminar took their boats apart, trailered them across the Smothers Road bridge, and re-launched them at the Sunbury Road location. But not Charlie! No, he set sail from Thistle Cove and when he got to the Smothers Road Bridge, he dipped his mast (sails and all) and then raised it again on the south side of the bridge and sailed in for the seminar–WHAT A GUY!

HAPPY HOLIDAYS FROM THISTLE FLEET 126. We hope this holiday season is warm and enjoyable for all of you, and we wish you a safe and happy 2021. It will be wonderful to see you and sail with you again!

PARTY! PARTY! We are looking at a Fleet party in the social distance! Obviously, safety is the first concern, so details will be decided later. A suggestion has been made to celebrate in February. Please stay tuned so that Fleet Captain Mike McBride can update us.

The 75th Thistle Nationals have been scheduled for July 31 – August 6, 2021 at Cleveland Yachting Club, Rocky River, Ohio, and some boats are already preregistered.

RESERVOIR WATCH – The Lake is still pretty wide, and it has been full of Lasers on several occasions. Meteorologist Jamie Jones has mentioned in the past that La Nina years are typically wetter than average, so it may remain higher than usual all winter unless the powers that be lower it.