COVID-19 Contingency Plan

May 22, 2020

Hello Thistle Family,

We have decided to postpone the Thistle National Championship presented by KeyBank until July 31-August 6, 2021. The Cleveland Yachting Club leadership and the club’s Nationals organizing committee, led by Fred Hunger, along with the Thistle Class Executive Committee are all in agreement: August 2020 does not seem to be a reasonable time to have the big regatta.

The pandemic continues to make it too much of a challenge to host the kind of social and sailing event that we all want, especially for the class’s 75th Nationals. We all want every Nationals, especially our diamond anniversary, to be a great sailing adventure and a great social engagement.  From my perspective, we are as intense at racing as we are at socially not-distancing, hugging, shaking hands, and telling tales shoulder to shoulder.

While we might be permitted to do so by the authorities and experts (although that seems unlikely), it would not be much fun to be distant and/or masked, etc.  This, just when we want to celebrate together and go boat racing.  Add to that the misery of the economy going down the drain, hurting almost everyone and thinning our ranks in participation. We do not want to be the class that took the extra risk that resulted in an outbreak of coronavirus cases. We do not want to have the fleet reduced significantly by those who are more cautious or those now financially strapped. And we do not want to be the folks having a big party while the rest of the country is struggling.

About your registration fee: you have the option of getting a refund, less the processing charge, OR leaving it in the Nationals account for next year. Please contact John Howell ( or if you have questions or to request a refund.  Your registration for this year remains valid for 2021, however, the qualification pathway – regattas sailed, etc., has not yet been  determined.  Stay tuned for more details about the 2021 Thistle National Championship presented by KeyBank.

We will bump the Jacksonville Nationals to 2022, assuming they are still interested in hosting.

Shortly, we will post a notice of how the 2020 Annual Meeting will be held.

The leadership at CYC and the TCA are unified in the decision to postpone. Rather than waiting longer to decide, we thought it best to run up the AP flag now. Disappointing as the postponement is, now most of us are allowed to “just” go sailing.  Let’s enjoy those days. Please do get on the phone and talk to your Thistle friends, tune in for the Roundstone Roundtable coaching webinars, and stay connected via Zoom fleet meetings/parties and our email list serve.

Odds are that Annie was right, the sun will come out tomorrow.

Tom Hubbell
TCA President

Update, May 9, 2020

The Executive Committee and the organizing committee for the Nationals at Cleveland Yachting Club have continued to have a dialogue about whether we can and should proceed with the regatta in August.

We have been informed by materials and presentations from the CDC, the Governor of Ohio, the US Olympic and Paralympic Committee, US Sailing, and the Burgee Program that provides insurance for clubs and sailing organizations such as the TCA.  We’re also aware that the country is entering a major economic depression.

We have decided to move up the decision date to the first week of June.

On the one hand, it’s pretty obvious that the situation as forecast right now, is not favorable.  The hurdles we would have to leap to create a regatta are considerable, based on today’s guidance.

On the other hand, no one knows what will happen.  We are still more than two months from the start date.  We are holding on to the hope that in a few weeks, restrictions will be lifted such that by August a major regatta would be possible, reasonable, and appropriate.

Meanwhile,  I hope that you will take every (legal) opportunity to “just” go sailing with your family, housemates, and close friends with masks as the situation may require.   Racing isn’t the only thing we love about this boat.  As Charlie Steigerwald taught me years ago, “it’s too nice of a day not to go out for a little sail.”  And let’s stay connected.  The online coaching that Wayne Pignolet and the all-star coaches are doing is a fabulous opportunity and all the other digital ways to connect are really great to have at our disposal right now.

Tom Hubbell
President Thistle Class Association

Update: April 16, 2020

Attention 2020 Nationals registrants!

1. We’re still in the “GO” mode, but that still depends on the Governor of Ohio to lift restrictions, and then we [TCA & Nationals Committee] will wait two weeks to see if that was appropriate.  – Same as our previous statement.  June 29 is our latest date for a final decision.

2. To reiterate the obvious: You must have already registered for Nationals, paid your TCA dues, and have a Registered boat!

3. The Governing Board has approved amendments to the Bylaws regarding qualification for those who are unable to skipper the boat at their districts in 2020:
(FYI the Green Book is online>TCA information > documents.
Read the numbering carefully.)
1) For the 2020 National Championship, the following Bylaws modifications are in effect:

Bylaws Article II -MEMBERSHIP, ELIGIBILITY, DUES AND FEES, ¶ 3. is amended to allow Junior members to qualify for Nationals by skippering in the 2020 Junior or Women’s National Championship.

Bylaws Article XIII – THE NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP ¶ 8. Eligibility, sub¶ (e) (3)(aa) is replaced with the following:

(aa) Non quota year:
(i) Sail as skipper-helmsperson in at least one chevron event: MWW, MWE, or an Interdistrict Championship in 2019 or 2020, or

(ii) Sail as skipper-helmsperson in two other regattas or sail three fleet race days in 2019 or 2020, and,

(iii) Notify the District Governor and petition the First Vice President in writing that items 3(aa)(i) or (ii) have been accomplished, noting the qualifying events.
Example 1.  Let’s say your 2020 districts gets cancelled.  If you sailed districts and nationals in 2019, then you already have the required 2 regattas as in (ii) above, so you are good and need only notify the DG and 1st VP (John Howell <>) that you did that.

Example 2.  Let’s say your 2020 districts gets cancelled and you only raced once last year at home.  You need two more fleet race days this year and then notify the DG and 1st VP of those facts.  Or you could go to two regattas in 2020.

Example 3.  Let’s say you are 18 years old and you just got access to a boat and you are not able to skipper in your district championship for any reason.   You need to show up in Cleveland and skipper your choice of either the Junior Championship or if applicable, the Women’s Championship. You are then qualified to skipper in the Nationals.

As promised, I’m reading Tolstoy during the lockdown.  After about two weeks, I’m just past the half-way point in War and Peace and I’m hoping we’ll be coming out of the storm by the time I finish.  All kidding aside, it really is a good book!  I recommend a pen and notepaper to keep the characters straight. But you already knew that.

Tom Hubbell
President, Thistle Class Association

​March 31, 2020

Thistle sailors,

The pandemic is upsetting a lot of lives, finances, and plans. I hope you and your families are weathering it ok. It will be spectacular to get back on the water racing boats with all this behind us. The Executive Committee, working with the team at the Cleveland Yachting Club, has this plan for how we will handle the decision about whether to hold the 2020 Thistle National Championship scheduled to begin on August 1. As of March 31, 95 boats have registered!

Ohio and many states are basically on lockdown now. We must respect those orders. Once the State of Ohio allows gatherings, opening bars and restaurants, we will wait 14 more days to see if their decision was a good one. Will there be a significant rise in new cases? If it still looks good, we go ahead; if not, we cancel.  We expect that cancelling just over 30 days ahead would allow recovery of housing deposits.

With many district championship regattas likely cancelled, the Executive Committee, with approval of the Governing Board (by email or conference call), will have modified qualification requirements for the Nationals. I hope to have that out in a couple of weeks.

Putting all that together: If the state of Ohio gives the green light at the latest by June 15, then the TCA Nationals decision to go ahead or not will be final by Monday, June 29 at the latest.

Obviously, if the pandemic is still raging in June, we won’t wait to cancel.

I will post a brief update to the Thistle class list serve about every two weeks just to let you know we are awake and thinking about this.

I have found this website useful: It’s a health data site created by the Gates Foundation and the State of Washington

I am currently optimistic that the storm will pass and we’ll have a great time at our 75th.   But Ohio must come out of the pandemic darkness for us to begin racing and socializing again.

Meanwhile, STAY HOME if at all possible.  Take my word for it, it’s a good time to read War and Peace.

Best regards,

Tom Hubbell

President, Thistle Class Association
Past President, US Sailing


The Thistle National Championship, presented by KeyBank, celebrates the 75th anniversary of one of North America’s most popular and competitive one-design sailing classes. The regatta takes place July 31-August 6, 2021 at the Cleveland Yachting Club in Rocky River, Ohio.


Regatta chairman: Fred Hunger

Media/PR: Mike Lovett