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The Parker and Seal Sailing Association

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You are here: Skip Navigation LinksHome > About the PSSA > History

The history of the PSSA

The history of the PSSA is fully covered in 2 booklets:

  • the Silver Jubilee booklet (PDF format) produced in 1998 by the then-President, Denis Fastnedge, covering the first 25 years, and
  • the 35th Anniversary booklet (PDF format), adding another 10 years

But this is a brief history (see also the Fleet page):

The situation which gave rise to the formation of the Seal Sailing Association was started way back in the early 1960s when John Baker and his wife Pat were casting around for premises suitable for moulding glass fibre boats. In 1962 they discovered Kenton Forge, between Exeter and Teignmouth, and here John initially flirted with GRP dinghy construction and went on to produce the 'Lark', which became a popular club racing dinghy. John then wanted to move into yacht construction and had in mind a lifting keel small cruiser. So at the beginning of 1968 he approached yacht designer Angus Primrose. The Seal 22 was born!

In 1970-71, 59 Seals Mk 1 were made and sold at a new factory at Starcross near the mouth of the river Exe. The owners of these early Seals had a lot of queries and they began healthy communication with John & Pat Baker, providing suggestions and requiring answers to queries. These owners also started contacting each other in their search for information.

In 1972, The Seal Mk 2 was introduced and the owners of these added to the number of skippers exchanging information and ideas.

A meeting was held at the London Boat Show on 6 January 1973, and a steering committee was elected to make recommendations for the future objectives, organisation and activities of a Seal owners association.

During 1973, the first rallies were held, the first newsletter issued (a single sheet, to 81 members) and the first owners register published.

The first AGM was held in 1974, and during that year 7 newsletters sent out and, as well as a number of rallies and cruises, there was a race around the Isle of Wight - which has now become an annual event.

By 1975 the Seal 22 Mk 3 and Seal Sinbad were in production, the Seal 28 prototpe built. Membership was up to 110, and the association was present at both the London and Southampton boat shows.

The association continued to grow to through the late 1970's, and in 1980 changed its name from the "Seal Association" to the "Seal Sailing Association" as its purpose was being misunderstood!

In 1982, John Baker decided to withdraw from boat production, but Bill Parker (G.W. Parker & Son Ltd) took over building the Super Seal 26. Parker 21's were introduced in 1984, and the Parker 27 in 1987. Also, in 1987, John Baker was given honorary life membership.

1990 saw the introduction of the Parker 275 and, three years later, the Parker 325 became the new 'flagship' in succession to the 31.

The Parker 325 was voted for "Yacht of the Year" in 1995.