Parker 31, 325 and 335

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The original Parker 325 brochure (1994)

Click here for a scanned version (PDF 1.9Mb)

The brochure reads:

Logical Progression

The all new Parker 325 offers a logical extension to the Parker Lift Keel range, from the tip of Its fractional rig, throughout its modern, elegant hull styling, down to the wings of its sophisticated keel.

The enhanced stability generated by the lead wing keel deep below this performance cruiser contributes to its amazing versatility to provide comfort and stability in the toughest conditions, Practical design, hand In hand with advanced engineering, gives the helmsman instant electronic draft indicator displa'y and finger tip control over the draft from 6 feet to 2 feet, so the 325 can cruise to any sheltered spot, drying out or otherwise, The 325 can dry out on the sands and sit safely on her wing keel. As the tide returns, the touch of a button transforms her once more to a powerful sailing machine.

The standard deck gear specification is based on equipment of the highest quality, as befits this new design. The twin spreader rig is equipped with the highest quality sails, with all controls, including reef lines, led to the cockpit for short-handed sailing via banks of clutches to Lewmar self-tailing winches. The steering console includes standard navigation instrument display.

The powerful rear section of the hull gives a large, spacious yet comfortable cockpit with stylish recessed teak panels throughout, Steering under sail 'or power is via a Whitlock wheel system and remains light and sensitive at all times. Engine power is delivered by Aquadrive, insulated, 18 h.p, Yanmar engine, the smoothness and quietness of the engine system adding greatly to comfort when forced to motor for extended periods.

The logical conclusion - a new design which has been produced to meet the yachtsman's demand for performance through quality.

Parker 325 Space Surprise 

The long waterline hull and interior design is truly like no other with a light, airy and well-ventilated saloon starting with its easy access from the cockpit. The Parker pedigree shows throughout from the beautifully Teak finished saloon table to the pure practicality of every aspect of the comfortable Interior with 6'2" headroom. The safety features of handholds throughout, 'U' shaped galley with adequate support for 'hands free' operation, navigator's area with table big enough for folded Admiralty charts, wide settee berths and lee cloths fitted as standard to convert to pilot berths.

The forward master's cabin with its walkabout area for changing in comfort, full sized double berth, hanging locker and extensive stowage has greater space than many larger yachts. The aft cabin has athwartship double berth with extensive locker space and aft stowage, which gives true privacy between the main saloon and fore cabin. The yacht's central toilet/shower room Is arranged with access from the saloon or en-suite forward master cabin, including lots of stowage, wet locker and standard hot water and shower system, to make real live-ability afloat. In short, a yacht designed to be sailed in comfort.


LOA 33'6" 10.21m
LWL 28'8" 8.73m
Beam 10'6" 3.20m
Draft (keel up) 2'1" 0.64m
Draft (keel down) 6'2" 1.88m
Displacement 7800lbs 3538kgs
Keel weight 2650lbs 1202kgs
Sail Area 550 sq ft, 51.1 sq m

Yachting World review (April 1994 issue)

This review from Yachting World has been reproduced with kind permission of IPC Media, but remains copyright © Yachting Monthly/IPC Media.

Click here for a scanned version (PDF 3.2Mb)

Parker Yachts may be only modest in size, but 35 years of experience have given them a solid reputation. Matthew Sheahan reports on their latest product.

IF YOU ask Bill Parker when the Parker company first built a keelboat, he pauses before replying: "Well, we started with the Tempest when that was the Olympic keel boat class, but, of course, that was a long time ago and you probably don't mean that kind of keelboat."

Then he adds: "But our first keel boat cruiser was the Sprinta Sport in 1977, which we built under licence."

Since that time, this successful and modest British yard has produced the Parker 21, 275 and 31, spanning a period of 17 years and producing well over 200 cruising keelboats. Now the new Parker 325 has hit the water to replace the eight-year-old Parker 31.

Many other yards would be happy just to have Parker's reputation in this market alone, but when you consider how dominant they have been in the performance dinghy markets for nearly 38 years, you can't help wondering just what makes them tick.

So, despite the grisly anticyclonic weather, we made tracks with alacrity to the River Orwell to meet the man and the boat.


Despite her name, she is actually 33ft 6in (10.2m) LOA, but her lines were loosely based on the Castro-designed Parker 31," Bill explained. "From there on we have designed the boat ourselves, using much of what we have learnt from the 275."

Like the 31, the 325 has a daggerboard-style lifting keel, which is hydraulically operated from the helmsman's position and clearly indicated by an electronic display, mounted on the steering pedestal. Wheel steering for the transom-hung rudder is standard, although the less expensive tiller option could be fitted instead.

The cockpit is deep and secure with angled coamings providing comfortable seating. Her control lines are all led back along the coachroof to two of the four Lewmar winches. Cockpit and deck lockers are both provided with practical amounts of space and access.

With so many modern yards using dramatic styling or novel ideas to catch your attention, it is almost surprising to find that nothing aboard the 325 immediately stands out and grabs you. And yet, the more time we spent aboard her, the more we realised that she is a notable British design.


The 325 has a fractional rig with two sets of aftswept spreaders stayed with conventional 1x19 stainless steel wire rigging to provide a simple and practical rig. Her mast is deck-stepped, mast and boom both supplied by Z Spars. Forestay tension is achieved solely through tensioning the backstay and, aboard this size of boat, the system works perfectly well without the complication of running backstays or jumper stays.

Parker & Kay supply the standard sails which include a non-overlapping jib and a slab reefing mainsail, both in Dacron. Our test boat was fitted with a fully battened mainsail complete with lazy jacks, and Rutgerson batten cars, all of which performed well in the changeable conditions of the day.


The dilemma of whether or not a manufacturer should go for a lifting keel is often affected by the amount of space that the system takes up below decks. Not so aboard the 325. Here the casing has been skilfully and unobtrusively incorporated as a partition between head and navigation station.

Siting these two areas forward in the boat has several advantages. The head can be accessed from the starboard side of the main saloon or can act as an en-suite unit for the forecabin. A shower unit is fitted as standard and shares the well-proportioned space.

The navigation area opposite is equally well designed. Measuring 29x23in (750x580mm) the chart table can easily accommodate a folded Admiralty chart and faces outboard, with the navigator backing onto the daggerboard casing. This, in conjunction with the angled floor under the table, makes it easy to brace yourself comfortably on either tack.

Throughout the boat the teak joinery is to a very high standard. The beautifully veneered saloon table is the boar's centrepiece, in style and position. The accommodation scores highly with practical, comfortable berths that easily convert into sea berths with leecloths and attachments. Deckhead-mounted grab handles run the length of the saloon.

The U-shaped galley, too, has plenty of handholds and, like the navigation station, it faces outboard and provides plenty of support to keep both hands free.

Of the sleeping accommodation, the forward cabin has the most space with a 6ft 4in (1.75m) long double vee-berth. Sailors glad of the length of this berth will be pleased to know that the typical headroom throughout the boat matches this at 6ft 4in. The after double berth runs athwartships to make best use of the space available. There is plenty of light through the hull and cockpit portholes.


A combination of chopped strand mat and woven rovings make up the hull laminate which utilises a sandwich construction in the topsides and a solid laminate below the waterline. The deck is also sandwich construction using PVC foam in the coachroof top and balsa in the side decks.

The fin section of the keel is a stainless steel fabrication with a lead wing section base, bolted onto the lower end. Rollers, guides and an 8ft hydraulic ram make up the major components for this ingeniously designed system which allows the boat to sit upright on its keel when drying out. The rudder has a lifting blade that operates in exactly the same way as a dinghy's, with a single rope to lift the blade.


Lifting keels have obvious advantages, but they have at least one drawback: under power, the lack of steerage when manoeuvring with the keel retracted is as dramatic as lifting the centreboard on a dinghy.

The 18hp Yanmar 2GM engine provides enough power to drive this boat along at a maximum of seven knots. Throughout the speed range, noise and vibration levels are low, above or below decks.

Under sail she excels. Her helm is light, but direct; you never feel out of touch with the balance of the boat. She is responsive, too, and a gentle tweak on the sheets has her picking up almost immediately.

With a gale building and the wind unpredictable in the confined waters of the River Orwell, we had almost more practice at mainsail reefing than we get in balf a season of boat tests. Putting in or shaking out a reef was never a problem and, with the exception of having to hook the tack on, the operation can be handled from the cockpit without inducing a hernia.

The strong 30-knot gusts also tested her handling to the limit. Only when overpressed does her efficient rudder lose its grip. But even as she rounds up, enough steerage is recovered to hold her off a complete stall.


Parker have a pedigree and it shows - but not until you step aboard. It is not outlandish style or innovative fittings which make this boat, but rather the pure practicality of every item, from stem to stern.

Solidly built, thoughtfully designed and a pleasure to sail, the Parker 325 comes complete with sails for £49,072 ex VAT.