In 1941, the association of Scandinavian sailing interests, Scandinaviska Seglarforbundet, organized a design competition for a small cruising sailboat that would provide accommodations for two or three adults and would be suitable for class racing. Design entries by Jac Iversen of Sweden and Knud Olsen of Denmark were well received. Tord Sunden of Gothenburg, Sweden was tasked with developing the FOLKBOAT design based on the Iversen and Olsen designs and the criticisms and inputs from the design competition committee.
In 1968, Tord Sunden produced an updated version of his Folkboat design for production in fiberglass by Marieholmsbruk A/S. The new design was known as the International Folkboat (IF). The IF is not recognized as a member of the Folkboat one design class, but is raced as a one design class of its own in Scandinavia.