A student-built, traditional Nordic Folkboat from the Northwest School of Wooden Boatbuilding took first place in the Cruising Class of Port Townsend Shipwright’s Regatta on February 24. Traditionally built for rough water and heavy weather in the Baltic Sea, the Nordic Folkboat has an extensive history of solo ocean crossings and circumnavigations. This makes it an ideal vessel for areas such as San Francisco where Northwest School of Wooden Boatbuilding instructor Jody Boyle saw quite a few of these durable vessels. Three-quarters of today’s Nordic Folkboats are direct descendants of the wooden Nordic Folkboat that was built in 1942 for a Scandinavian boatbuilding competition and won.
Ray Speck has built boats for a little over 45 years with about 100 incredible vessels making up his extensive portfolio. Often called the master of lapstrake construction, the semi-retiree dove back into action headfirst as a part-time instructor on the Nordic Folkboat project with Jody Boyle. Speck is a fan of the boat’s craftsmanship, and Boyle of its ability to handle tricky conditions. Thirty-knot winds in full sail are no problem for the Nordic Folkboat; its heavy keel is the secret, weighing more than half of the boat’s overall weight, allowing it to achieve this high level of stability.
The racing crew of Jody Boyle, Sean Koomen, Boat School facilities manager Steve Standon, and Northwest Sails and Canvas owner Sean Rankins sailed the 25’ lapstrake boat across the finish line through gusty winds, hail, and short bursts of sun – a successful day on the water for a crew who had never sailed together before.
A purple heart backbone, oak framing, and a Douglas-fir lapstrake planking make up the hull – all copper riveted – with the cabin made of sapele wood. Sails and a simply elegant interior complete this reliable wooden masterpiece. The boat is now up for sale at the Northwest School of Wooden Boatbuilding.