A Nordic Folkboat built by students at the Northwest School of Wooden Boatbuilding made a public debut in the recent Port Townsend Shipwrights’ Regatta.

A Nordic Folkboat built by students at the Northwest School of Wooden Boatbuilding made a public debut in the recent Port Townsend Shipwrights’ Regatta.

Rare, newly-built wooden Folkboat wins first time out

PORT HADLOCK — The first time the boat sailed, it was tops in its class.

A few days after the Nordic Folkboat was completed by students at the Northwest School of Wooden Boatbuilding, it made its public debut in the Port Townsend Shipwrights’ Regatta, which opened the local sailing season Feb. 24.

The 25-foot lapstrake sailboat exceeded its team’s expectations by winning the regatta’s Cruising Class. Other winners were Sparkle in the Racing Class and Raven in the Thunderbirds Class.

It was the first time the racing crew had sailed together, said Christina Cogan, communications and development manager for the boatbuilding school, in a news release.

Crew members included Jody Boyle, lead instructor on the Folkboat build; Sean Koomen, Boat School chief instructor; Steve Stanton, Boat School facilities manager; and Sean Rankins, owner of Northwest Sails and Canvas, who was still tuning the rigging 30 minutes before the start of the race.

The rare wooden Folkboat is now for sale at the Northwest School of Wooden Boatbuilding at 42 N. Water St., in Port Hadlock.

The asking price is $45,000, according to Rob Sanderson of the Port Townsend Boat Co. boat brokerage. It has no name yet; it will be christened by the new owner, he added.

According to the Folkboat International Association, there are 4,000 Nordic Folkboats on the water today. About 3,000 of them are direct descendants of the wooden Nordic Folkboats first built in 1942.

New Nordic Folkboats are built almost exclusively of fiberglass, using a design introduced in 1977 that mimics the performance of wooden Nordic Folkboats, so they can race in the same class.

“It’s pretty rare to see a new wooden Nordic Folkboat,” Koomen said. “You see a lot of wooden Nordic Folkboats on the water, which is a testament to their construction and the people who are maintaining them, but most of those boats were built in the 1950s and 1960s. It’s not cost effective to build wooden boats under 40 feet in a production environment.

“So, yes, this boat is super rare.”

The Nordic Folkboat was designed for the rough water and heavy weather of the Baltic Sea. Known for easy handling and extreme seaworthiness, the Nordic Folkboat has an unusually heavy keel — 54 percent of the boat’s overall weight — that allows the boat to carry full sail in 30-knot winds, Cogan said.

Ray Speck, who has built more than 100 boats during his career as a traditional wooden boatbuilder and is regarded as a master of lapstrake construction, came out of semi-retirement to serve as part-time instructor on the Nordic Folkboat build with Boyle, Cogan said.

“Folkboats have always been a favorite of mine,” Speck said. “The great thing about this boat is the quality of craftsmanship. With student-built boats, there’s more attention to detail. And the Douglas fir vertical grain planking stock on this boat is the best I’ve ever worked with.”

The hull construction includes a purple heart backbone, oak framing and Douglas fir lapstrake planking, all copper riveted. The cabin house is made of Sapele. The boat is also outfitted with sails and basic systems package.

“Whoever gets this boat is going to be joining a community,” Speck said. “Nordic Folkboat owners are a big family. Not just in the Bay Area and the Pacific Northwest. Folkboats are all over the world.”

For more information on the Nordic Folkboat, contact Sanderson at 360-316-9370 or [email protected]

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