- It’s a little boat that really seems to take its inspiration from big-boat design.
- She shows no tendency to be tricky through even the tightest turn, and in every way I would describe her as being very user-friendly.
- Her quality of build, internal design and choice of materials are all big-scoring attributes.
- The helm is equal to the rest of the craft in terms of its quality thanks to its modern styling and good ergonomics.
Parker 750 CC: A Boat for all Seasons
HMS sets a course for the waters of the Baltic to test a handsomely appointed pocket cruiser of great substance and quality. But is her greatest attribute ultimately her undoing..?
Here in the UK, where the weather can be less than favourable, owning a boat that offers complete protection from the elements will make a lot of sense for a lot of people. Of course, we’re not just talking about the traditional summer season’s worth of boating either. A boat with a wheelhouse, or even better a cabin, can extend your boating activities to a 12-month season. When the use of the boat is not simply limited to May through to September, the return on your investment is potentially doubled too – especially for those storm-lashed types familiar with the joys of latex seals, helmets and HPX. Imagine the joy of a fresh winter’s day, when the wind is biting and the spray’s flying, being able to stand in the comfort of a cabin all warm and dry without needing to be togged up to the ‘nines’. And just in case you lot are thinking that old HMS is going soft, listen, I’ve done enough miles at sea in open boats to appreciate, especially as I enter my ‘vintage years’, that there’s much to be said for a bit of comfort!
Increasingly so over the last few years, there has been quite a lot of investment on the part of manufacturers in either upgrading or producing brand-new outboard-powered, pocket cruiser-type craft in and around the 7- to 8-metre category. The trend toward inboard diesel-powered boats in this sector of the leisure market has lessened substantially due to the technical development of outboards and the cost savings they offer over an equivalent diesel installation. Furthermore, if the design of the vessel doesn’t have to allow for an engine housing, this same space can be utilised beneficially either/both above or/and below deck. Especially on a small craft, this is likely to result in a much more spacious aft deck that can be used for socialising, fishing and other activities. Outboards also represent big capital cost savings on the price of a new boat over diesel, and therefore cabin craft powered by such become accessible to a much larger share of the market – often going head to head on price with open RIBs of the same waterline length. The trade also loves outboards of course, as they are far less complex to install. In fact, it’s noteworthy that diesel installations do not necessarily fall within the skill set of every yard or marine engineer. Diesel installations take much more precise knowledge, and if they’re to be got right, the intricacies of the engine housing’s design and fit-out need to be very precise.
On, then, to the subject in hand … The Parker 750 CC is a very fine example of this particular breed of craft, offering full cabin protection, accommodation, a good-sized aft deck and ample power in the form of a single Mercury 300hp Verado outboard motor. Sea-trialling out of the Polish port of Gdynia on the waters of the Baltic Sea, I had the opportunity to take the boat out on two consecutive days and therefore get a good feel for the 750 CC, not only from the standpoint of its internal layout but also the brand-new hull design this model boat and its open counterpart, the 750 DC, feature.
Behind the Name
Parker’s ‘Twin Step Infusion’ (TSI) hull design, it is claimed, not only produces a 10% increase in performance/speed but also an astonishing 26% reduction in fuel consumption. This dramatic improvement over the hydrodynamics of the company’s standard non-stepped, deep-vee hull is being seen as a very exciting breakthrough, something that Parker are rightly keen to shout about. After all, new hulls and innovative designs of this type are by no means an everyday occurrence. The cost of developing and producing a new hull and mould represents a very big financial commitment indeed. That said, Parker’s associate company, Modern Art, is not only responsible for the building of the Parker-branded range, but also undertakes all the production work for several other leading, independently owned brands. So at any given time, the company has something like four production lines all working side by side, simultaneously, as if on giant parallel conveyor belts. It’s very high tech and such boatbuilding professionalism is impressive to see, particularly so as the Modern Art plant is one of the largest of its type in Europe. But with such a mighty production capability as well as all the in-house expertise to support it, the introduction of new designs has become all the more achievable for Parker.
Features and Facilities
Before I come on to how this boat handles, allow me to take you round the various features of this craft. A generously sized aft deck allows for comfortable boarding as well as full access to the outboard and its linkages. Either side of the outboard, the transom features two sturdy safety gates that allow access to the swim platforms. Combined with the GRP gunwale bulkheads, the handsome stainless steel structure that incorporates both the boarding gates and a fold-out picnic table helps to provide a deck with a high degree of on-deck security. Pull-out seating from the bulkhead faces makes this into a useful additional social area, and with the overhead canopy deployed, the aft deck can be either covered or fully enclosed.
On through the glass sliding doors and into the cabin itself, one is immediately impressed by the light and airy feel of the cabin’s interior. Another ‘first’ for Parker is the introduction of an electric skylight to the 750 CC’s GRP coachroof – a little touch of added luxury to the vessel’s fit-out. Full-length windows down either side of the craft mean that a full 360 view of the outside world is virtually unhindered. These can be opened for additional ventilation and the forward screen features electric windscreen wipers.
The facilities are remarkable for a boat of this size and include a generous private twin-berth cabin up in the forepeak, beautifully upholstered, well-designed seating sections either side of the companionway, which on the port side can convert into an additional cot berth when the dinette table is removed, good amounts of locker and storage space throughout and a very well-appointed ‘heads’, which not only includes a proper loo but also a washbasin. A hot-water shower can even be fitted. Oh, and lest I forget, in addition to the foregoing, the 750 CC comes complete with a Fusion sound system as standard plus a good-sized refrigerator and twin-burner gas cooker – everything, in fact, that you need from a true ‘weekender’. I think you’ll agree, it’s a considerable achievement on the part of the Parker design team to have included such a list of features on a 7.5m boat. Indeed, I for one would be happy to even take this boat extended cruising with such an array of comforts! It’s a little boat that really seems to take its inspiration from big-boat design.
The helm is equal to the rest of the craft in terms of its quality thanks to its modern styling and good ergonomics. Everything is nicely to hand, with the wheel and throttle ideally positioned in relation to one another. The dash layout is not only pleasing to the eye but highly functional too, with the GPS plotter screen positioned dead centre and all the complementary gauges and switches sited around this main information unit. Integrated with a comfortable and supportive helm seat complete with complementary foot brace to the bulkhead beneath the wheel, the helm station is modern, compact and does much to make the 750 CC driving experience all the more pleasurable.
What I really like about the cabin’s interior is its modern, cohesive styling as well as the choice of materials and finishes. Furthermore, its execution is flawless and very contemporary.
Performance and Handling
Coupled to the 300hp Mercury Verado, this vessel cruises economically at 25 to 27 knots and over the two days of testing delivered a top speed of just under 40 knots in light winds and typically Baltic, zero-tide conditions. With her 240-litre under-deck fuel tank and being driven at 25 knots, this boat is also capable of delivering a pretty respectable cruising range. The Mercury Verado delivers in great style, being not only quiet but efficient – a super-performing 4-stroke that makes for an ideal power pack possessing plenty of get up and go as well as lots of reserve power.
The 750 CC’s twin steps, set approximately two-thirds of the way back from the bow, help to provide a low planing threshold, and once fully underway, these then aid its hydrodynamic efficiency without turning her into a boat that has to be driven any differently to a standard non-stepped, deep-vee craft.
This test boat was fitted with Zipwake automated trim tabs. The Zipwake is a relatively new dynamic trim control system that features an advanced, intuitive control unit. It’s an excellent system, but for this particular boat I have to confess that I would prefer a set of manual set of tabs, perhaps the Bennett system, as these would allow the driver to manually control the degree and variance of trim, in contrast to the Zipwake’s automated response which appeared quite slow to respond. It’s possible the Zipwake could be recalibrated, but my feeling is that a more substantial tab system would be more appropriate. (Another alternative is the Interceptor trim tab system which is particularly effective at responding to lateral trim in real time). The fact is, the 750 CC is a very well-made, soundly built craft, but being strongly made, as one would expect, her GRP lay-up is hardly lightweight. Additionally, with the vessel’s cabin and heavy GRP coachroof added into the frame, the 750 CC is a boat with a high central point of gravity and a lot of weight located at its highest point.
The effects of the 750 CC’s high COG are further accentuated by her being outboard powered. (Alternatively, an inboard engine would typically be located down in the hull/body of the craft and thus help to lower a vessel’s COG.) Also, a planing hull, by way of its very design, is a shallow-draught projectile, and unlike a semi-displacement hull it presents very little below the waterline to counter, hydrodynamically and balance-wise, the effects of the structure above. Given that 7.5 metres represents a relatively short waterline length in relation to a full-height cabin craft such as this, all these factors contribute to the boat being prone to listing and heeling quite noticeably at times, giving the impression that the 750 CC suffers from being what could be termed ‘top-heavy’.
My feeling is that with a good set of electric trim tabs, it would be possible to ‘hold her up’ and correct her tendency to list quite effectively – especially when helming her through a testing beam sea or in a strong cross wind. In her favour, too, is the degree of power at this craft’s disposal. The 300hp Verado fitted to this 750 CC’s tail really packs a powerful punch, so in a moderate to rough sea state, this degree of reserve instantaneous power would do much, I feel, to set the craft ‘back on her feet’ if she began to ‘wallow’ or feel a little unsteady. The Verado and its engagement with the water has the power to assist the craft’s directional stability in a number of situations, but in addition, the 750 CC’s hull possesses a good degree of forward buoyancy as well as lift, and certainly in terms of her balance fore and aft, she feels spot on. It follows, then, that as long as the helmsman keeps plenty of power on in a following sea, this boat should perform quite well – to the extent that she could even be driven quite hard without adverse effect.
In conclusion, the 750 CC’s new twin-step design means the hull is even quicker up onto the plane and then runs all the more level. She shows no tendency to be tricky through even the tightest turn, and in every way I would describe her as being very user-friendly. Her extensive specification also includes a bow thruster, so she is very simple indeed to manoeuvre, which further adds to this boat’s user-friendliness. Her quality of build, internal design and choice of materials are all big-scoring attributes. Her cabin accommodation, particularly when you consider the length of her hull, is an achievement Parker can be rightly proud of, and for owners of this model, particularly in climates such as here in the UK where boating is so dependent on the weather, the 750 CC has the potential to be a ‘boat for all seasons’.
- Quality of build, internal design and choice of materials
- Efficiency of twin-step hull design
- High COG
- A more substantial trim tab system would be preferable
- Length overall: 7.46m
- Beam overall: 2.50m
- Draught (without engine): 0.39m
- Weight (without engine): ca. 1860kg
- Fuel tank capacity: 230L
- Freshwater tank capacity: 40L
- Black-water tank capacity: 40L (opt)
- Persons: 7
- CE category: C
- Max. engine: 300hp
Price (standard, with Mercury Verado 300hp)