A Hail from the Rail

Matt FisherFleet News, Leadline

The 2021 Thistle Nationals was a well-run, first-class, outstanding event.  Fred Hunger lead a team of Betsy and John Yingling, John Lovett, and many many volunteers that made it a well-organized, week-long regatta.  For at least 4 evenings there was a great dinner served to 400 people.   The PRO, Matt Bounds, is a nationally recognized US Sailing race official and did an outstanding job.   Our Jamie Jones came in mid-week and did a great job running the Presidents fleet.

Our 3990 team of Stu steering, and Ryan Squires and I crewing, had a good year going through the process of improving our crew work, perfecting our tune and trying to go fast.  We trained for almost a week in Charleston in April, helping Uncle Greg with his new Evolution Sails.   We also had several weekends where we practiced and had Greg behind us in a power great.   It was a great learning year.

The top 5 were very close — (we were 6th).   The wind was mainly North/ Northeast for the first 4 days, blowing 6-10.   For the last day it switched to the Southwest and blew 15-20mph.     Greg Griffin sailed a very consistent series through the regatta and was leading going into the last race but turned over at the last jibe mark.   Sam Ingham sailed a great regatta to win the Nationals with very impressive finishes throughout the event.   His dad, Mike Ingham, who has won the Nationals multiple times, was second.   Seeing the two of them first and second was really special.   Ed Adams who has been Yachtsman of the Year, Star World Champion and Laser World Champion was third and Brian Joyce from Westport was 4th after a very impressive start.    Greg Griffin dropped back to 5th with a 33rd in the last race due to his capsize.

We were 6th and really happy with how we finished the regatta.   During the year, we practiced more in a breeze and actually felt more comfortable when it was over 12mph.

The Thistle class is doing well and Tom Hubbell should be congratulated for leading the class through COVID and other issues through the last 12-24 months.  He and Pat also go out of their way to get the trophies organized on the last night. 

Big thanks to Cleveland Yacht Club, Fred Hunger and his crew for putting on a great regatta.   You can always tell if a yacht club wants 400 sailors to be at their club for 8 days and CYC was incredibly cordial and great hosts.   There were a couple of days with just one race and there was always something to do with the competitors on land.  It was a fun week. (see photos below)

More Thistle Fleet News
by Ann Jones

We waited. . . and waited. . . and waited. . . an entire extra year. . . and finally…at long last…we were rewarded with our 75th Nationals! As you read in the above article it was worth the wait!

You can access some of the best parts on our Facebook Thistle Class Association page. For example, “On a picture-perfect Lake Erie day with flat water and a strong southerly breeze blowing off Rocky River, Ohio, skippers Sam Ingham and Mike Ingham mounted late surges to win first and second places respectively.”

In the President’s Division, Craig Koschalk took first place, followed closely by the team of our Mike McBride/Kimberly Pasley/Bob McNitt who finished in 6th place, and Kevin Tschantz came in a very respectable 22nd.

In the Junior Nationals competition, Andrew Gallagher won Saturday, followed by Grace Squires, Siri Shantz (originally Hoover, now a Leatherlips instructor), and Nadia Reynolds’ Hoover team. And in Women’s Thistle Nationals, Betsy Yingling/Julie Steigerwald/Ruby Steigerwald were 4th, followed by Joy Yingling driving Thistle #1619, Windlassie.

In the Junior Nationals competition on Saturday, Andrew Gallagher won, In second place was our Grace Squires as skipper with crew Jack Vanderhorst and Daniel Vanheekeren. Siri Shantz (originally Hoover, now a Leatherlips instructor), and Nadia Reynolds’ Hoover team. And in Women’s Thistle Nationals, Betsy Yingling/Julie Steigerwald/Ruby Steigerwald were 4th, followed by Joy Yingling driving Thistle #1619, Windlassie.

Other highlights included the Sunday Practice Race which was kind of crazy and tumultuous, according to Clark Wade. That event was preceded by five waterspouts which might have dissuaded a few people from participating, and then during the race, there was a lot of close-together 3-to-4 foot chop. Clark mentioned that at least a hundred boats raced. Must have been exciting!

And last, but certainly not least, Mike Minett won the raffle for BRAND NEW Thistle #4075!

CONGRATS TO STEVE LAVENDER for coming in second in the HSC July Pursuit race!

THANKS FOR DOING EXCELLENT RACE COMMITTEE DUTY, AS ALWAYS! (You know who you are. And sometimes it’s just fun to get another perspective on the races.)

MARK YOUR CALENDARS – Conor Ruppen shared the following Lake Erie Fall Series dates and I have added some more items that might be important. Conor mentioned that the September Lake Erie Districts are scheduled so that we can qualify before the May, Jacksonville Florida Nationals next spring *

  • 8/28 Berlin Regatta
  • 9/10-12  (Fri) Atwood Party Starts, Harvest Moon Regatta
  • * 9/18 & 19 Lake Erie Districts, Sandusky Sailing Club
  • 9/25 Dornin Memorial, Pymatuming, PA
  • 10/9 North Cape Fall Blowout, Monroe, MI
  • 10/16 Fall Finale, Hoover Sailing Club
  • 5/14-20/2022, Thistle Nationals, Jacksonville, FL

More Thistle Regatta information can be found here https://www.thistleclass.com/regattas-and-events/

LOOKING AT THE LAKE: First, the good news.  My calendar says the Fall Equinox isn’t until September 22, so we have another month of long, hot, serene summer! Hurray! The lake is still warm, the winds are still mild, and we can enjoy that floating sensation for a little bit longer. But hold on, there’s another side to the picture, and it isn’t as blissful as the first. This is hurricane season in the northern hemisphere, and the hurricane system lasts all the way through the end of our sailing season. I was watching the Weather Channel the other day, and one of the announcers mentioned that if a hurricane tracks north on the west side of the Appalachian Mountains it might affect the weather in Ohio. So that means there is a possibility of a hurricane party in our future–is that great or what? So is life a beach or a party? Think about it! That is food (and drink) for meditation. And a good place to meditate (and party) is Hoover–SEE YOU AT THE CLUB!

Thanks to Thistle sailor Susan Hale for these four photos. www.chesapeakescenesphotography.com