In 1941 the Royal Swedish Sailing Association decided to hold a competition to design an affordable small keel boat, there were 58 entries, the judges could not decide on a winner but chose six designs which they thought all had good qualities Tord Sunden was asked to take the best features of these designs and incorporate them all in a new design. Construction of the first boat started in 1941 and was launched in the spring of 1942, there are now fleets in many countries, including all the Scandinavian countries, Germany, the UK, USA, Holland and Australia. In the mid 1970s with the rising timber costs and competition from modern GRP boats a fibreglass version of the Nordic was made. The mould is to the exact dimensions and contors of the original clinker boats having the same weight and weight distribution. The Nordic Folkboat was reviewed in Classic Boat magazine as “a rare example of a good thing designed by a committee but it is far more; the Folkboat is the most popular, successful and influential sailing yacht of all time. It comes in various guises and has spawned several derivatives but the Nordic Folkboat is the original”.
The British version of the Folkboat, of carvel construction instead of the Nordic clinker, first appeared in 1948/49. The approval of the Scandinavian Yacht Racing Union was sought for this modification. The British builders were informed that provided their boats conformed to the original hull specifications in all other respects and carried on their sails the letters FB opposed to the Scandinavian letter F they would have no objection. The British Folkboat is not a one-design as the regulations permit the choice of certain features. The hull must conform to the original Nordic measurements but maybe of carvel or clinker construction, engines may be fitted in board, the cabin may include a dog house and the mast maybe deck stepped the class however is restricted and only boats which are accepted by the Association are given a sail number and a class certificate.
In 1977 following discussions and an agreement with the Folkboat Association Varne Marine Ltd of Malden in Essex commissioned Alan Hill to design a GRP version of the carvel British Folkboat. Varne Folkboats could be purchased from their yard on the picturesque River Blackwater in Essex as completed yachts or in various kit boat stages. Varne Folkboats were designed using the Folkboat hull measurements but the coachroof was modified for GRP moulding and to extend the accommodation a little. Most Varne Folkboats have an inboard engine and race in the cruiser fleet at Folkboat Week. Unfortunately the company went into liquidation in 1981 and we do not think any Varne Folkboats have been built since.