Re: Thistle conversion
Thistle is set up for 3 people hiking at 180 sf. I can see how it might be a handful solo in F4 or more. Trap dinghies (505) go 150 sf for two, non trap 120 (Windmill, Snipe) or so, and heavy single handers like a Finn down to 100, light ones like a Laser 75. This gives you some parameters When we did the 17'loa Harrier settled on just over 100 sf since the hull was pretty big and designed with lots of flare for balance. Works pretty well with the ablity to triple reef a highly efficient fully battened lug. I might be tempted to end up with a similar rig on the Thistle, but you'd need to move the mast forward. Might have area up in the 120 sf range as the Thistle is no light weight. If you can get rid of the jib, you can dump the shrouds which is always nice.
Ran Tan, Leste Kuhling, Vernon Langille, Josef W., Merry Mouth, Imp, Macavity and a quiver of unamed 'yaks.
"Bound fast is boatless man."