Here is the the continuation of the interview with Eric Bergqvist by Ted Bradbury, who, at the time, was looking for a seaworthy cruiser to sail to the Azores – (with thanks to Mike Burns). I guess this would have been sometime around 1982/83:
Ted: I do appreciate how reasonable your prices are – (hull and deck mouldings £1750 +VAT – ed.), but doesn’t that mean that the boat has been designed to its limits – minimum bulkheads and thin laminates etc?
Eric: Not at all. The long low profile of the Folksong uses less materials as well as contributing to the boats sailing performance. The laminate is of chopped strand mat construction resulting in a thick hull which, although hand laid, is quick and easy to make. The deck is an economical one-piece moulding and the bulkheads and other interior fit-out all wood.
Ted: Why is the wood interior economical? It must take a lot of time to fit and finish.
Eric: It will take longer to fit than the kit of moulded and pre-finished parts that you would have to buy to complete a modern production yacht but these kits are expensive because you are paying for someone else’s labour and overheads. Such kits also offer very little, if any, flexibility or freedom of design. Our basic interior kit is simple and straightforward because it’s been designed specifically for the home-builder who can keep the layout as it is or add his own ideas and innovations as he goes along. We sell bare hulls and decks to customers who want to do it all themselves, or part or fully finished boats to those who haven’t the time or inclination for fitting out. Admittedly the finish we use, painted plywood with varnished hardwood trims, is time-consuming, but it is also relatively inexpensive. It has a warm classic look and can be smartened up each spring with a fresh coat of paint.
Ted: I think I see now why you haven’t attempted to give the Folksong standing headroom, but surely this is unacceptable to most prospective buyers.
Eric: I agree that the lack of standing room is a drawback but a box cabin high enough to allow for this would ruin her lines and performance and increase the cost. There are plenty of 25 footers to choose from with standing headroom but few that can be built as economically as the Folksong or perform as well. In fact the Folksong’s headroom rarely concerns my serious customers because the Folksong design appeals principally to experienced sailors. Like you and I they have the ultimate ambition of making that long ocean passage and are confident that the Folksong can help them accomplish such a dream.
Ted: Finally, Eric, have you made any improvements to the Folksong in the three years you’ve been producing her?
Eric: Of course. The design is constantly developing. From the fifty or so boats built we’ve had a lot of customer feedback and each year a new interior is planned for a customer’s own specific requirements. Recently a new cockpit layout was added with an outboard well, and the Folksong hull has been successfully used for other hone designed cruisers. At the moment, two customers are building Chinese junk rigged Folksongs. One of these is a replica of Blondie Hasler’s Folkboat, Jester, that made so many single-handed transatlantic crossings. And what better recommendation for a Folkboat than that!
Well, there you have it from the designer himself. He wanted the Folksong to be good-looking, economical in its simplicity, have a good performance – hence the low profile, be flexible in its design and be capable of ocean voyages by the ambitious and the experienced.
That’s what I saw the day I first saw Blue Mistress. What about you?