National Sailing Championship Returns to Flathead Lake After 35 Years

Sailors from across the country will compete in the 77th annual Thistle National Championships this summer

By Beacon Staff
A sailboat on Flathead Lake. Beacon file photo

The North Flathead Yacht Club (NFYC) will welcome sailors from across the country to compete in the 77th annual Thistle National Championships this summer. This fun and competitive regatta will attract nearly 100 boats to Flathead Lake from as far away as Texas and as close to home as local yacht club members. The championships are a week-long event and include a women and juniors regatta, daily races, and social events. Races start on July 16 and conclude on July 21. 

Thistles are small, high-performance racing sailboats. They are 17-feet long and are shaped like a wide canoe. The last time NFYC hosted this event was 35 years ago in 1988. That regatta included nearly 70 boats.

“The 1988 regatta was such a success that we have huge shoes to fill. The pressure is on to make this a great event, but we’re getting so much support from our members and the local community that I know it’s going to be great,” Ashli Thompson, Commodore of the NFYC board and lead on the planning team, said in press release.  

The North Flathead Yacht Club is located in Somers and is a member-owned club founded in 1975 with the purpose of expanding the sport of sailing on Flathead Lake. While the club regularly hosts smaller events, such as the annual Montana Cup regatta, the Thistle National Championships is a much larger undertaking. Planning began nearly two years ago and has involved a core planning team, the NFYC board of directors, club members, and many community members and local businesses. To volunteer or sponsor the event, email the regatta planning team at [email protected]. For updates on the event and for more information, visit www.nfyc.org

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