The approach to the 2018 Thistle National Championship is unique. This year this competition is currently ongoing, from July 30th to August 3rd. There is a healthy turnout, about 66 teams participating and they are all lined up to sail at Westport, CT where a 70 year old boat design awaits them. This boat has all the lacking and an absence of modern features.
Tom Hubbell as a stalwart of Thistle class of sailing and past president of US Sailing believes that the three person boat design that is part of this competition, offers a unique advantage. If someone got sidelined there would be still be a third wheel to steer the boat. The total crew weight that these boats can carry is about 500 pounds and that means people of different genders or age could compete. The class also involves a policy of acquisition of sails being limited to one suit every year. This is a clause that helps to eliminate gaps between casual competitors and elite teams.
There are other advantages found in this unique approach to a sailing competition. These include coaching and crew support, but similar to the sailing limits, there is also the need to manage competition investment that supports maximizing participation. This competition has a firm approach in terms of finances such as no competitor being paid to participate in the event and no private coaching provided.