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North Sails LOFT NEWS
WHO WE ARE: JOE PARKER
Get To Know Your Local Sales Expert
How long have you been sailing and what classes do you compete in?
I have been sailing for 40+ years. I have sailed in many PHRF events over the years on boats from 22′ to 70′.
I have sailed in the IOR One-Ton NAs and Worlds. I’ve also raced Beneteau 36.7s, Catalina 22s, Tanzer 26s, J/24s, J/35s, International 110’s, MORC and Great Lakes 70′ fleet.
I have competed in five Key West Race Week events, a number of Harbor Springs regattas, more than 20 Bayview-Mackinac races, 15 Chicago-Mackinac races, three Ft Lauderdale to Key West races, six doublehanded Lake Huron Challenge races. I’ve also raced in multiple Detroit NOOD regattas and countless local PHRF races on Saginaw Bay and Tawas Bay. My wife Debbie and and I have cruised all over the lakes and along the eastern seaboard as well for 40 years.
What’s your background in the marine industry? What’s your favorite aspect of working in the industry?
I have been in the Marine Industry for 36 years. I started a small boat repair business (Bay Boat Works) in 1982. I built small boats and repaired boats of all kinds. I added sailboat rigging into the business in 1988 and still do rigging today.
I started selling sails as a local rep in 1986 and have done that continuously since then.
In 1990, Meade Gougeon asked me to join the team at Gougeon Brothers Inc (makers of WEST SYSTEM Epoxy) as a Technical Specialist. While there, I helped boatbuilders around the world develop and implement improvements in boatbuilding technology. During that time, I also continued to operate Bay Boat Works and sell sails locally on Saginaw Bay. I retired from Gougeon Brothers as PRO-SET Epoxy Product Manager in mid 2014 but operate Bay Boat Works today.
I am very enthusiastic about the Marine Industry as it provides many challenges for the technically-minded individual. My interest spans the entire range of the marine industry from materials to boatbuilding methods to cordage and rigging and of course to sails and sailmaking.
What keeps you coming back for more?
I truly love being on the water. Every day is somehow different than every other day. Often I am asked how long it took me to learn to sail and I simply respond with: “my entire life; I am not done learning how yet”
What’s your favourite thing about sailing?
I guess I do not have one favorite thing about sailing. I love to cruise and see new (and old favorite) places. I love to race, particularly with fun people at any level of competition. And as unusual as it may sound, I love to work on boats and find the most elegant solution that I can to any problem at hand.