CPYC is the home of Thistle Fleet 99, the "Westport Mafia," a sobriquet earned by its members' ability to take out the competition.
Founded in 1961, the original fleet had three boats. By 1966 the fleet had grown to 15 boats, and continued to grow steadily to a peak of 35. Today, our Thistle fleet numbers 26 boats and 10-15 boats can usually be found on the starting line.
Our racing schedule includes races on most Saturdays between Memorial Day and Labor Day and three Commodore's Cup Series on the holiday weekends. Shorter course racing (2 to 4 races) with lots of mark roundings are the ususal fare.
The Thistle was designed in 1945 by Sandy Douglas. It was recognized by US Sailing as one of the most active one-design classes in the U.S. One of the first performance dinghies, the Thistle features a classic plumb bow flowing to a wide, flat planing stern and a high sail area to weight ratio. The result is a boat that is fun and responsive in a wide variety of conditions.
The original boats were constructed of cold molded plywood, using a technique pioneered during WW1 for aircraft construction and used in WWII for PT boats. Wood Thistles remain strong and competitive to this day. Thistle #1 consistently places in the money, and won the national championship in 1990, forty-five years after it was built. The modern Thistle has updated hardware, spars and rigging but remains true to its one-design principles. While newly built Thistle hulls are made of fiberglass with built-in flotation, the strict one design specifications help ensure that older wood or glass Thistles remain competitive.
Thistles at CPYC are supported by one of the premier one-design organizations in the world, the Thistle Class Association. The TCA sanctions an active schedule of local, regional and national events throughout the year. Junior, women and family participation is encouraged. A hallmark of the class is its healthy mix of high caliber racing and family social activities.
CPYC's Thistle fleet mirrors the class' emphasis on competitive sailing and camaraderie. Sailors ranging from first year skippers to national champions race with us, making CPYC a great place for any sailor to match his skills against others of similar ability. More experienced sailors also help those just starting out, making Fleet 99 a great place to learn. The Fleet maintains a competitive glass boat which is available to non-members for test rides and racing. Not up to skippering? Show up at the Club and we'll find you a crewing spot. We're always looking!
The Mafia invites everyone to come out for a sail and socialize with us after a day doing battle on the water.
To learn more about Fleet 99, contact Fleet Captain Steve Gruver.