By: Jacob Posner, CYC Junior and club member
For all of us who live in the northwest, one of the first significant regattas of the year are the midwinters events. To start off 2022, I sailed the 50th Anniversary Thistle Midwinters West in the Pacific Ocean of Mission Beach in San Diego, CA. I have been sailing for the last seven years starting in Optis and moving to C420 double handed sailing in the last year. In the summer of 2020, I started skippering the thistle in local evening races, with my dad crewing middle and different people doing bow.
Rigging and sailing at mission bay is always a pleasure. The club is relaxed and there is plenty of room for everything. It is also warm and sunny in California with steady 7-15 knots of sea breeze, and plenty of wildlife, including dolphins, pelicans, seals, and whales. The Thistle fleet is a good choice if you are looking to meet and learn from high level sailors. I learned a lot about Thistle rig tuning and how to sail the boat from various Thistle fleet regulars. One of the highlights for me was getting to talk with Greg Fisher who has won 25 National, North American, and World Championships in 7 different one design classes, including the Thistle. If that isn’t enough to take his advice, our Thistle #3677 mainsail’s cut is called the “Fisher mainsail.” Another great aspect was the very competitive racing, everyone was a good sailor and had been sailing the boat for a long time, so no matter how we were doing I knew everybody there had much more experience. I felt grateful that I could on the same line as all those great sailors.
Sailing with adults is a different vibe than junior sailing. I think they have more respect for the sport in some ways, and they have so much experience to offer. Off the water everyone was extremely supportive of me and I felt welcomed. I had a great time and learned a lot on and off the water. We had an excellent showing from Seattle sailors. Two made the Championship Division: Jacob Posner 5th, Graham Vaughn 9th and in five in Presidential Division: Patrick Schirmer 2nd, Wayne Balsiger 5th, Louis Philips 7th, Les Hillebrand 12th, Frank Moore 14th. Thanks to all the competitors, my off the water coach Jamie Malm (former thistle national champion 1995). The biggest thanks goes to my team: my dad, Jonathan Posner (middle), and Danny Juan (forward), for making it a great event and contributing to our top 5 finish. No matter your skills and goals in sailing I would highly recommend the Thistle class to anyone.