Page 10 - Folk Boat Year Book 2021
P. 10

The Association at 60

     As seen on the front cover of this year’s Yearbook the Association is 60 years old.
     The inaugural meeting of ‘The Folkboat Association of Great Britain’, although this
     name was only agreed some way into the meeting, was held “after an excellent
     dinner” (quote from the minutes of that meeting) at the Normandie Hotel,
     Knightsbridge on the evening of the 7  of April 1961. A Committee was elected and
     the Association was born.

     Two years later Mr T. Whittaker, the Secretary at the time, wrote a piece for the 1963
     Handbook. This “History of the Association” tells the early history of the Association.

                 The History of the Association

       The idea of a Folkboat Association in Great Britain was first mooted in 1950 when the first two British
     Folkboats were built. Despite all the efforts of a few dedicated owners, no formal body was constituted.
     Existing  boats  varied  widely  in  detail,  and  were,  moreover,  sparsely  scattered  around  the  coasts  of
     Britain. In spite of the fact that these early efforts appeared to be premature, the enterprise was not
     completely abandoned, for Mr. J. S. Saunders, with great foresight, continued to keep a register of new
     boats and even issued sail numbers to them.
       By the end of 1960 the number of Folkboats had grown considerably and they were becoming very
     popular. Several owners therefore felt that the time had come when an association could successfully
     be re-constituted. With this end in view a dinner party followed by an inaugural meeting took place in
     April 1961 and was well attended by owners and other interested parties. The meeting invited Mr. D. A.
     Doyle to act as Chairman and during the meeting Mr. T. Whittaker gallantly agreed to combine the offices
     of Secretary and Treasurer. Both these gentlemen were subsequently confirmed in their appointments.
     A committee was also elected at this dinner and with the exception of two resignations and replacements
     it exists in the same form today and meets at frequent intervals.
       From these modest beginnings the Folkboat Association of Great Britain has gone from strength to
     strength. Area Committees have been formed and regular racing has been organised. Last year saw the
     Folkboats racing as a class on their R.O.R.C. handicaps in major regattas, and it is remarkable that as
     many  as  25  entries  were  received  for  class  racing  in  Cowes  Week.  Folkboat  rallies  have  been
     successfully organised and well attended, and it has been so pleasant to see how many of the boats are
     sailed and raced by members with their wives and children.
       Since the inaugural meeting, two Annual General Meetings followed by dinners have been held. The
     latter were well attended and such well-known personalities as Francis Chichester and the Honourable
     Max Aitken were invited as guests of honour. Folkboat owners from all over the country were able to
     forgather  to  discuss  the  many  interesting  and  technical  problems  concerned  with  standardising  the
     British Folkboat and, probably more important, to relive for a few hours the activities of the past sailing
       So the Folkboat Association of Great Britain is now a going concern. It is recognised by the R.Y.A. The
     class regulations have gone a long way to standardising the British Folkboat and to maintaining the
     rugged strength and design of the original Scandinavian boats. The Committee's advice is sought by
     boat builders and sail makers in this country and abroad.
       Most important, perhaps, the first object of the Association is being achieved for the fellowship among
     all those who sail in Folkboats continues to grow each year.
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