the folkboat story
Success often has many fathers and in the case of the Folkboat
this is especially true. In 1942, the Scandinavian Racing Union
(SRU) organized a design competition for a new sailboat. It had
to be simpler and cheaper to build and more spacious than the Olympic
Dragon class. And in addition to functioning as a racer it needed
to function as a small family cruiser.
Not fully satisfied with any of the designs no first prize was
awarded. Instead a young Swedish designer, Tord Sunden, was commissioned
to combine the best elements of some of the designs. This resulted
in the creation of the Folkboat. It also resulted in decades of
lawsuits regarding the ownership of the intellectual property
of the design. Meanwhile the Folkboat was well on her way
to achieving uncommon success.
The Folkboat did not become known outside of Scandinavia until
after the end of the Second World War. Prior to that time it was
popular throughout Scandinavia particularly in Sweden. After the
war the boat quickly gained popularity throughout Northern Europe
and in 1948 the first Folkboat arrived in the U.S. In the thirty
years since its somewhat problematic creation up untill the early
nineteen seventies, over three thousand wooden Folkboats have been
So , what is the secret behind the success of the Folkboat?
To start with, she is a very good sailor. In light winds she is
does well and while she may be not the fastest around, she is responsive
enough to be very enjoyable to sail. When the going gets tough,
she was and still is unrivalled. No matter what, the pressure on
the tiller will hardly increase and she can be trimmed in such a
way that any over dose of wind can be dealt with easily. The Folkboat
is not only fun to race, but also safe to cruise. She is plain beautiful!
The Folkboat is everything a boat should be. She is still as simple
as she's always been. This simplicity is what makes her special
and she does not require any 'extras' to make her better.
The seaworthiness of the Folkboat made her a source of inspiration
for many sailors. In the late nineteen fifties the first long distance
voyages using Folkboats were undertaken. Some of these voyages
included a trip in 1962 by Adrian Hayter, who sailed his Valkyr
westwards from England to New Zealand. Then between 1975 and 1977
Australian Ann Gash circum navigated the Globe single-handedly
in another Folkboat, Ilimo. But perhaps the best known long distance
Folkboat is Jester, which was sailed by "Blondie" Hasler who single-
handedly crossed the Trans Atlantic in 1960.
While the Folkboat enjoyed great successes, the 1970's also brought
with them a new competitive threat. The advent of Fiberglass for
use in boat building started to become a threat for the Folkboat
as a one design class. Wooden boats became increasingly expensive
as the use of new materials became accepted.
Sven Svendsen, a Dane who had moved to the San Francisco Bay area
in the fifties, built the first fiberglass Folkboat in 1975. In
that same year Erik Andreasen in Denmark had a mold made from
his wooden Folkboat "Tibbe", the boat that he had sailed to win
the Gold Cup. These two initiatives made the class associations
approve the fiberglass Folkboats. As it
turned out, this helped to save the class in the years to come.
Over a thousand fiberglass Folkboats have been built during the
years since the 1970's. They have the same weight and weight distribution
as the wooden Folkboats. And like the wooden ones they compete with,
some are faster than others. As you might guess, the Folkboats from
Kerteminde are found in the fore-front of the field. They share
that spot with the wooden boats from the builder of "Tibbe" that
served as the plug for the boats that we sell.
Different from its derivatives, like the IF Marieholm and the Contessa
26, the fiberglass Folkboat has a lapstrake (clinker built) hull
form. This is not intended to be "retro", but it does give the Folkboat
a very good and classic look. A boat that offers you the virtues
of both classic and modern times, without creating a confusing vessel.
A Folkboat is straight simple and honest. When you experience sailing
one, there is a real chance you will fall in love with it. I did.