Parker’s really formed in 1957 when Bill Parker first saw a John Westell design for the International 505 racing dinghy in the first copy of yachts and yachting. 343 was built that year, cold-moulded. After that interest from UK and European sailors, led Bill Parker to build full time.
By mid 1960’s Parker’s were the leading manufacturer of the International 505, with an international business, the class grew quickly providing sailors with one of the most exciting 2 man dinghy racing experience available.
The French were very active, winning many championships and by the mid 1970’s Parker’s won 10 consecutive world championships (a record still held today), going on to win a total of 15 world championship titles by the 1980’s.
The introduction and lack of innovation of the class in the 1980’s saw a rapid decline in boats, classes like the International 14, spurred on other competitive 2 man boats to enter the market with more sail area, dual trapeze and other innovations. Numbers declined rapidly to the point where less than 10 boats were built a year.
During this time the Australian’s dominated and Bill decided after designing the series 25 to stop building and concentrate on liftkeel yachts for shallow water sailing, building a successful business that today still has the P325, P285 and P235 .
In 2012 Parker’s (Bruce Parker) re-entered the market with a new radical Parker 505, with a new A-frame, new hull, topsides and internal fit out, Parker’s again introduced innovation, ideas and style back to the class.
Parker’s now offer a range of 505’s from advanced polyester, to hybrid para-aramid, kevlar honey-comb, epoxy carbon/kevlar, bare hulls or fully fitted configurations.
Their belief is that the 505 is too complicated and overweight, it needs simplifying to become attractive and accessible to a younger generation. The class also needs to get some control back over measurement and development, which has lead to an unfortunate situation over many years, where owners are left with modern boats that don’t measure as an international 505.