|G. W. Parker & Son, established in the late 1880's and originally founded by Bill Parker's grandfather, were general builders and joiners, the family having been for several generations Master Mariner Builders and Woodworkers. It carried on trading as builders until the 1950's, when they again introduced boat building into what was at the time still a small family business.|
The company commenced with the then new international '505' racing dinghy. Initially, these were cold moulded though before long they had changed to GRP construction and soon achieved their first international racing successes. Over the years, Parker built '505's have amassed an enviable list of 18 world championships as well as numerous national and European championships.
For a number of years, the sole Parker boat was the '505', for which they had a very healthy UK and export market. However, in 1972 Parker's were appointed sole UK builders for the new Olympic class, the international '470' racing dinghy. This addition enabled them to expand their production facilities, they moved to their present site at Kirton and increased their staff. Over the years Parker's have also built, albeit in limited numbers, various yachts and dinghies such as the 'Flying Dutchman', 'Tempest' and the 'Sprinter Sports'. In 1980, Parker's bought the building rights for the 'lark' from John Baker, when John wanted to concentrate on the Seal range of yachts. Bill Parker having originally met both John and Pat back in 1969, during a trade mission to the USA promoting their respective dinghies, the '505' and the 'Lark'.
It was, perhaps, no surprise that in 1981, when for a complete change John and Pat were thinking of moving out of the boat building business into fruit growing, they sold the building rights of the Super Seal to Parker's. For the next ten years, the Super Seal remained in continuous production before being modified and marketed as the Parker 27. Throughout the time, Bill Parker sailed the boat regularly himself and developed a high respect for this fine, lifting-keel, high performance yacht. So much so, that he became
convinced the lifting-keel concept had an important niche in the market. Parker's therefore followed up the 27 in 1986 with the Parker 21 (derived form the MiniSeal), and in 1987 with the Parker 31 (a design originally based on the Passage Maker, but much modified). In 1990 the entirely new Parker 275 was introduced to replace the 27, and in 1993 the company launched the Parker 325, their in-house design to supercede the Parker 31 and bring their range right up to date.
All these yachts have lifting keels except for a few specially ordered 28s, Super Seals and MiniSeals. The present yachts are marketed as Parker Yachts to benefit from the Parker world-wide quality image. They do however still carry the Seal insignia, and whilst the original association of Seal owners now numbers many owners of Parker built yachts, it continues to be named The Seal Sailing Association.
Parker Liftkeel Yachts Limited
61 Horseshoe Lane
Telephone +44 (0)1205 722697
Fax +44 (0)1205 723549
In 2009, Parker Liftkeel Yachts entered into voluntary liquidation.