Sandpoint sailor wins 2019 Thistle Midwinters in Florida

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Sandpoint Sailing Association’s own Wayne Pignolet (trimmer/tactician) and teammates Matt Fisher (owner/driver) and Sarah Paisley (foredeck/bow) managed to hold on to an early day one lead for first place overall at the 2019 Thistle Midwinders, held in Florida.

In total, 35 teams of boats from up and down the east coast traveled to Tampa Bay for the annual regatta, which was hosted by the St Petersburg Yacht Club. Sailing on Fishers’ Thistle (U.S. No. 33990) the team placed 1-1-1-5-6-10 in each of the races during the five-day event.

The regatta kicked off on Sunday with practice racing and seminars held by current U.S. Sailing Olympic Coach Mike Ingram and past U.S. Sailing president Tom Hubble — both of whom are active Thistle owners and racers.

In January, Pignolet — along with his daughter Carli and his brother Jerry — towed his Thistle USA No. 376 to Mission Bay, Cali. and the Mission Bay Yacht Club for 2018. There, with a fleet of 27 boats, Pignolet took second overall, with first place honors going to a team from the Lake Washington Sailing Club.

Notably, USA No. 376 is a wooden-hulled Thistle built in the 1940s; despite its age, it is still fit for racing competitively today.

This is training and practice for Pignolet, who will be competing in the 2019 Thistle North American Championships in Sandpoint this summer.

Sandpoint Sailing Association will host the week-long regatta during the third week of July 2019.

Over 70 boats and teams from across the country are expected to attend this summer, bringing an estimated 300 people into Sandpoint for the event.

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