Thistle is the smallest of the museum fleet.
Thistle is a 'couta boat', a distinctive type of fishing vessel built for the barracouta fishery in Bass Strait off the coast of Victoria. Crews, usually two, fished with poles or trolling lines for couta and later, shark. Couta boats evolved in Australia to suit local conditions. Hand-lining for barracouta (once the mainstay of the fish and chip trade), these open-hulled sloops dared the unpredictable waters of the Victorian coast and treacherous rip of Port Phillip Bay. Thistle fished out of Port Fairy and has survived amazingly well. The vessel was restored and rebuilt to original specifications by a Victorian couta boat specialist.