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Old 20-08-2015, 18:06   #1
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1971 DeFever Offshore

This listing for a 1971 DeFever Offshore showed up on Craigslist today, and it seems like it might be a good price.

1971 54ft Offshore DeFever

I am admittedly completely ignorant. I like in San Diego area and am looking for a liveaboard to drive up to the SF Bay Area.

Is this simply too old to consider? Are there any obvious concerns to evaluate?

Also, I am a complete and absolute novice when it comes to boats. This would be a flyer--completely jumping in and getting totally wet (metaphorically) and learning as I go.

Feel free to tell me I'm insane to consider it.

Thanks for any feedback or shared experience.

David
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Old 20-08-2015, 18:24   #2
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Re: 1971 DeFever Offshore

Be advised that most marina harbormasters in the SF bay area really do not like wood boats for liveaboard. Just Fyi.

There is a reason it's cheap.
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Old 02-09-2015, 08:45   #3
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Re: 1971 DeFever Offshore

Here's a link that should work better: 1971 54ft Offshore DeFever

That Defever looks to be in good condition in the pictures, but then again they all look better in ads than in real life.

It could indeed be a comfortable liveaboard.

But...one big issue (assuming there aren't major mechanical / wood problems) would be keeping it in this condition. A large wood boat, in salt water, not under cover...that is a phenomenal amount of work to keep up. Of course you can do this yourself or hire it out. I have a guy who works on my boat for $25/hr cash who is excellent. I could see budgeting $1K/month to have him "maintain" that boat. OK, you can probably acquire the skills and put 30 hours a month into maintenance (how much do YOU earn per hour?) but, while there are some people who truly love maintaining their boats like this, the vast majority find it tedious and let things slide. And then turn that $80K boat into a $40K boat in a few years.

Of course there's also mooreage - I'm going to assume you can research that in your area but I'd be surprised if you could get something decent for under$1K / month. And end tie with a view? Could be much more.

And now for the big items. How are the fuels tanks on that boat? I think they're black iron and - since nothing's mentioned in the listing - probably original. They might be in excellent condition. And you might be able to keep them that way. But if they start leaking fuel...the cost of fixing just this ONE problem could exceed the purchase price. The DD engines are a known commodity and not expensive even to rebuild / replace though they are a bit messy and noisy. 3900 hours and coastal voyages indicates that they are probably replacements.

One odd thing - a raised pilothouse boat with no pictures of the pilothouse (and no mention of electronics) leads me to believe that the current (and possibly several past) owners were not themselves cruisers. And that the electronics are old and possibly not in service. Not a bad thing, particularly if you don't intend to cruise yourself, but the entire description seems to be about accommodations and I don't see anything backing up that "capable of offshore cruising" claim. Oh, and that tender cannot be lifted by that boat deck davit - probably doesn't come with the boat anyway.

Is there a holding tank? Not mentioned. You're going to need a solution to that problem if you plan to live aboard. And the list goes on and on...

So if you're willing to spend $3K to $4K per month PLUS the cost of the boat just to "live the dream" then this might be worth considering.
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Old 02-09-2015, 10:16   #4
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Re: 1971 DeFever Offshore

As the previous owner of Sobre del Mar's sister ship, I can attest to her comfort as a liveaboard and her seaworthyness offshore. I believe this vessel was one of the last built in the Japanese yard and is a big improvement over subsequent DeFevers built in Taiwan.
Sure, she is built of wood but if regularly maintained, she will last for many years. Cosmetically, she has been looked after but as far as electronics go, any boat this old is probably due for a new suite.
The price is certainly attractive!
The most important thing if buyers are interested would be to have an experienced, qualified surveyor who specializes in wooden boats go over her carefully with particular attention to the stem area.
You will not find a more comfortable vessel for offshore passage making than this DeFever design. I cruised mine from northern Desolation Sound in the PNW then down to San Diego, Mexico and many trips to Catalina and every mile was a pleasure to be aboard.
If you want more details, PM me... Phil
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Old 17-10-2015, 00:59   #5
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Re: 1971 DeFever Offshore

Live your dream. You get a lot more boat in wood than those built in more popular materials. 30 years on, steel and fiberglass boats often need lots of work, too. I live on a 1942 wood boat that spent it's life in salt water. The hull is in excellent shape. As long as the bottom paint and zincs are maintained, the salt in salt water preserves the wood. Rain water, overhead leaks and lack of maintenance are the real killers of wood boats. My commercial fishing boat was built in 1925, is wood and still fishing 90 years later. In fact there are many wood commercial boats still fishing. I know of a halibut schooner built before 1900. It all comes down to maintenance.
A thousand a month for maintenance is bs unless you're starting with a wood boat needing major repairs and paint. When I bought this boat, after repairs I made, I did a major repaint and recaulk. My hands touched almost every square inch of the outside wood. I did make some changes that reduce maintenance like new fiberglass decks and cabin tops. I also painted most of the varnish. Now my boat needs repainting about every 3 years and requires about 15 gallons of topside paint per coat and a couple hundred in sanding, brushes and supplies. The bottom, props, shafts and thru hulls are on the same schedule. I have a copper bottom. If I time my haul out to a slow time for boatyards, I pay about $1500 for in and out and a pressure wash for 83 feet. Bottom paint is about $1500 and $500 for zincs. So for "wood boat" maintenance I spend about $6000 every 3 years. That's about $170/month for maintenance. About what my last house use to cost. No where near $1000/month. If you learn to properly prepare wood and use a proper paint you don't need a shipyard or a $25/hr worker for maintenance. Maybe for some repairs.
I'm a former shipwright and have been on or near the water on boats and ships for much of my life. That was handy getting the boat back into shape, but sanding, painting, zincs, and related maintenance can be easily learned by a new comer. I'm 67 and if I can do the maintenance, so can you. The trick is stop problems before they start. Keep the wood dry and the bilges vented.
I've never had problems getting dock space where there were other liveaboards. It depends on what you and your boat look like. But I haven't been to San Francisco since they chased out most commercial fishing boats.
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Old 17-10-2015, 10:13   #6
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Re: 1971 DeFever Offshore

Truer words were never spoken, Lepke... I too commercial fished for many years in the PNW and when I took my wife and friends on a cruise around the areas I used to fish, low and behold, sitting at the Government dock in Egmont, BC was the old SilverSides aboard which I fished with the Silvey family. She looked great, although the drum seine had been removed from the aft deck.
She is about 75-80 feet in length and was built on the Fraser River back in 1919. A grand old girl that has been cared for, worked hard and still turns an eye of those who have spent a lifetime around boats and the ocean. Phil
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Old 26-10-2015, 22:54   #7
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Re: 1971 DeFever Offshore

Capt Phil:
I remember the Silversides. I've seen her a few times. Probably tuna fishing. I may have a couple pictures, if I see them, I'll post them.
Lots of good wood boats built in BC. Some interesting engines, too.
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Old 27-10-2015, 08:16   #8
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Re: 1971 DeFever Offshore

You must be of the same vintage as me, Lepke! She was formerly a small table seiner run by Ernie Silvey and was bought out of the Nelson Bros fleet by the Silvey family back in the 50's. Leonard Silvey, Ernie's son, was the last owner I knew of and his wife was Postmistress in Egmont for years.
Lived with the family back in the 50's and60's in Old Egmont across the channel from New Egmont where Honest John had his store. Fished with the sons, Leonard and Bruster for several years, packed fish in Rivers Inlet with Ernie then finally ran my own boat for Nelson Bros several more seasons before going trolling out of Port Alberni on the Swiftsure Bank for another couple of seasons.
Those were great years when you could make a $ and enjoy the simple life!
Finally gave it up and towed logs, barges and did a stint of beachcombing before seeing the light that my life expectancy was pretty short so went into the cab business in Vancouver. Cheers, Phil
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