If you've been shopping for a new fishing boat with a cuddy cabin, you may have noticed that most are outfitted like a luxury yacht. Even in the low- to mid-20-something size range, they have stereos with iPod docks, TV’s, windlasses, freshwater showers, fancy folding transom seats, and even air conditioners. All that stuff is nice to have, but it also drives up the boat’s complexity and its price tag. With that in mind, spending a day aboard a Parker 23 Walkaround was like a breath of fresh air.
The 23 Parker is a simple, straightforward, no-nonsense fishing boat, and the one I was on had been purchased with minimal options. The cockpit was wide-open, with captain’s and passenger’s side pedestal seats on the helm-deck facing fore and aft. That meant some of the crew had to stand as we ran from hotspot to hotspot, but it also meant there was nothing to trip over or move around when it was time to fish. There’s also no livewell, which would have to be added if this were to be my boat.
The cabin is just as simple, with a V-berth that has a portable MSD tucked away underneath. No galley, no fru-fru curtains at the ports, and thank goodness, no flat-screen TV. It may not be the Taj Mahal, but it’s hose-it-out easy to clean and it’s exactly what a lot of hard-core anglers are looking for: lockable rod and gear stowage, a head, and a place to duck out of the weather when need be.
The Parker 23 also has KISS construction. Hand-rolled laminates are laid out over a fir ply stringer system, which is bedded in polyester bedding compound. The ply deck is fastened to the hull and stringers both mechanically and chemically, and is completely encapsulated in fiberglass. Belowdecks voids are foam-filled, and deck hardware is through-bolted. It’s simple, it’s low-tech by today’s standards, and it’s a highly reliable way to build a no-nonsense boat. Parker’s been putting these fishing machines together since the 60’s, so they have the process pretty well figured out.
The down-sides to this basic building method? Don’t worry too much about rot, the usual criticism of boats with ply in their guts, because it’s all encapsulated with fiberglass. Instead, consider weight. The 2310 DV weighs in at 3,700-lbs, which is in the upper end of the range for this size and type of boat. Another problem with building boats the old-fashioned way is fit and finish; modern RTM and Vacuum-molded hatches, for example, look better and have a higher strength-to-weight ratio than those molded traditionally. Still, while the Parker may look a bit rougher on parts of the inside, on the exterior its fit and finish can stand alongside that of any fishing boat builder in production today. And, why should you care, anyway? You’re not likely to buy a Parker 2310 to impress anyone—remember, this is a boat for fishermen, pure and simple.
|Fuel capacity||133 gal.|
When we crossed the Chesapeake, we had a sporty 15-knot breeze out of the south churning up a two to three foot chop. Not exactly pleasant, but just what you want for a day of boat-testing. The Parker handled it well, bulling waves out of the way as opposed to skimming over them. Note that the 2310 has a 21-degree deep-V, which is a lot better at taking on rough seas than the shallower 16-degree deadrise Parker used on some of their other models built in the past. And I really didn’t note any loss of stability—the best feature about those flatter bottom Parkers—as a result. Performance was also up to snuff, with a cruise in the low 30’s (the mid 20’s, through the rough stuff) and a top-end in the mid 40’s. Power came courtesy of a 225-hp 4.2 liter Yamaha Offshore V6.
Just how much will you save, by foregoing all of those luxury-adding goodies? Prices will obviously vary but if you don’t start piling on options, the Parker 23 Walkaround fits into the lower-middle range of the price scale, about 10-percent less than many competitors and 20-percent less than models that demand top-dollar. For many of us anglers, however, the price is a secondary perk. The thing we like the most about this boat is that its KISS nature is ideal for bending the rods, and bloodying the decks.
For more information, visit Parker Boats.