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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 built.

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.