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Old 10-27-2015, 06:23 PM   #1
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Down by the head

My new (to me, actually 1981) DeFever 41 is seriously down by the head, even with the aft water tanks completely full and a dinghy in davits. It seems like many of the 41s I have seen in pictures share this feature. In addition to keeping her from looking her best, it means that the flybridge scuppers don't drain properly, and I think it contributes to her less-than-wonderful steering.

Has anyone else dealt with this problem?
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Old 10-27-2015, 06:26 PM   #2
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Too much chain?
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Old 10-27-2015, 07:20 PM   #3
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Now that you mention, it I have noticed the same thing about some 40' / 41' DeFevers (appearing somewhat down by the head). I ascribed it to low / empty water tanks, but you've eliminated that explanation. Xsbank's suggestion (excess weight up in the chain locker) is something to check out.

On the subject of steering, I am reminded of a former TF member named Mike, sadly no longer living, who refitted a 1973 40' DeFever and did a fabulous job. He discovered that his single-engined boat had been fitted with a rudder designed for a twin-engined installation. IOW, it was too small. He fabricated a new rudder and reportedly experienced much improved helm response. Perhaps something else to check out.
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Old 10-27-2015, 08:12 PM   #4
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Greetings,
Mr. DH. Just a WAG but could she be under ballasted whereby ballast that may have been factory installed was removed by a PO to "save weight"? Don't laugh, I've seen this done. I got chatting with a fellow on the dock one day and casually mentioned his boat seemed to be quite nose heavy. He stated he removed many hundreds of pounds of "useless" weight in the form of iron blocks from under the aft cabin. He didn't want to use extra fuel to haul it around. He also ran with near empty fuel tanks and empty water tanks (used bottled water).
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Old 10-27-2015, 08:41 PM   #5
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Thanks, Gentlemen, all good suggestions. There IS a fair amount of 3/8 chain, but I haven't had a chance to measure it yet. I don't see any signs of old ballast, but maybe I wouldn't. I'm all for a light boat, but not it spoils the looks and steering.

I'm pretty sure the rudder is the correct one. I know these boats don't steer like the ones I'm used to, but I'm hoping I can make some improvements. It fixing the trim doesn't do it, I think I'll try a fishtail modification to the existing rudder.

I wonder how Mike discovered his rudder was smaller than intended? Is it possible to find Art DeFever's plans anywhere? It used to be that boating magazines would often publish nice drawings of a new boat when it was introduced.
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Old 10-27-2015, 08:53 PM   #6
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Doug H wrote: "I wonder how Mike discovered his rudder was smaller than intended? Is it possible to find Art DeFever's plans anywhere?"

Even though Mike has passed away, and his widow has sold his boat, the web page that he created to discuss his many boat projects still exists (at least a few minutes ago). Here's the link to his rudder project:

Rudder

It's a blessing and a revelation to read and re-read Mike's thoughtful descriptions and explanations of how he brought a forty-year old trawler into the twenty-first century.
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Old 10-27-2015, 08:54 PM   #7
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Try nosing into a slip and lower all the chain onto the dock. You'll know how much chain you have, hence the weight, and also be able to observe the "new" waterline on the hull. That would possibly give you a clue as to how much aft ballast to add, should you decide to keep all the chain.
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Old 10-27-2015, 09:06 PM   #8
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When I'm totally fueled and watered, I'm bow-high (but not to an extreme) with 200 feet of 3/8 chain in the bow. Nevertheless, I normally operate with only a maximum of 50-percent fuel capacity. But then, if I planned to have a long-range cruise (over 500 miles, unlikely), more stuff (food, water, and so on) would be stored forward. Perhaps another 200 feet of anchor chain would be desirable if cruising in the Pacific Northwest.
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Old 10-28-2015, 06:06 PM   #9
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The boat will be hauled for the season pretty soon, and I will measure and mark the chain then. I very much doubt if there is more than 150'. My guess is that it would likely take 1000 lb well aft to really correct the problem, since there is so much buoyancy at the stern. I hate to lug around that much extra weight. I can move a few weights aft, and eliminate some others, but right now there is no gear in the focsle, and it doesn't seem realistic to expect that to continue once we start cruising.
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Old 11-02-2015, 08:28 AM   #10
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Our 88 defever 41 rides high in the stern, the PO has some lead weights (quite a few) glued to the port and starboard side of the hull back where the steering assembly is but it still sits a bit high.
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Old 11-02-2015, 09:04 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doug H View Post
My new (to me, actually 1981) DeFever 41 is seriously down by the head, even with the aft water tanks completely full and a dinghy in davits. It seems like many of the 41s I have seen in pictures share this feature. In addition to keeping her from looking her best, it means that the flybridge scuppers don't drain properly, and I think it contributes to her less-than-wonderful steering.

Has anyone else dealt with this problem?
Is it really down by the bow? Or does it just look like it?

Does water run forward on the decks?
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Old 11-02-2015, 10:53 AM   #12
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I wouldn't consider level decks a dependable indication of proper fore and aft trim. For example my side decks leveled would produce a very bow high boat. It may have been some sort of compromise but I consider it bad design as water puddles fwd on the side decks.

Doug H,
Is your boat very hard to control in following seas? Does she tend to rotate on her bow or "bow steer" as many say?

Since square stern boats have more flotation aft (lots) steering is not going to be as sweet or neutral as a double ender. The pointy end just lacks volume so it's a downside to fast boats when they go slow. Over the years I've noticed in pics here on TF that many trawlers look bow down and I'm sure many are. And unless they are trimed wrong w onboard weight quite different than the design calls for they could be just bad designs. With so many appearing to be bow down I think some at least are just bad designs. With the way so many here almost worship Art DeFever it seems unlikely that the DF is in the bad design catergory. But I don't know that much about DeFevers.

And Bills point must be considered. The upper part of a boat need not look "propper" in this regard (and that's another kind of bad design) but it should be determined if the BD (bow dn) is a hull trimed badly by boat owners or topsides that just suggest that. A bow down and badly ballasted boat whether by design or moving weight in the boat can be quite dangerous in rough seas.

I worked at Uniflite in engineering and heard no talk about any badly ballanced boats but most Uniflite's looked quite BD. The Uniflites did have a considerably warped bottom .. that is w much less deadrise at the transom (close to flat) than amidships (considerable) and deep fwd. One would need a lot of weight aft to level such a hull. Another hull that has little volume fwd is the older Mainship 34. No problem visually w the boat in the water though. These boats have a reputation for being hard to control in following seas but it seems just an annoyance from what I hear from owners.

Most trawlers combat this "problem" w a rather large keel (depth wise mostly aft) so the hull isn't free to wag it's stern all over the place. Same w lobster boats. But some have less keel than may be desired. Probably on "fast trawlers" as less keel means more speed via less drag.
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Old 11-02-2015, 11:10 AM   #13
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You can get some empty drums and put them on back deck and fill with water as a temporary test to see what it would take to get the trim you like. Can also go for a run with the drums and see if it improves steering.

Boot stripe and bottom paint line can be moved, that will change the aesthetics if that is all that is bothering you.
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Old 11-02-2015, 08:14 PM   #14
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The DeFever 41 has a warped bottom with little deadrise at the transom. The forefoot is what I would consider very deep and there is little drag to the bottom of the keel. In fact, in her bow down trim, there may be no drag at all. Most boats designed for service in heavy weather have considerable drag.

The boat has a waterline molded into the hull, and sits with this WL about 3" lower at the bow than the stern. Also, water runs forward in several places on deck (flybridge sole, mold seats) while the scuppers for these items are located aft. Inside the boat, the tub does not drain properly, and the main saloon sole pitches forward. So, I don't think the boat was intended to float this way.

I don't think the boat steers very well, but I wouldn't say it is terrible in down-sea conditions. The auto pilot (a rather ancient affair) steers it pretty well down-sea. Art DeFever was certainly an accomplished designer, but sometimes when the builder gets done, weights are not as the designer intended. If the boat floated parallel to the molded in waterline, she would look better, the decks would drain properly, and steering would probably be better. I 'm interested to find out if other DeFever 41 owners have this same problem, or if possibly the PO had removed some ballast. Roguewave's answer indicates I'm not alone, and will probably need quite a bit of ballast. I like Ski in NC's drum idea.
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Old 11-02-2015, 09:13 PM   #15
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A lighter boat is almost always a better boat.

Perhaps removing the ground tackle and running the boat w a very light rode (for safety) and anchor for a test .. as extensive as needed.
What are other things in the fwd end of the boat that could be moved aft or eliminated? Or even things amidships that could be moved aft.
I'd vote for rearranging the weight already in the boat and eliminating what you don't need is far better than adding ballast. If ballast is unavoidable some cement right above the props to isolate hydraulic prop vibration would be weight at least somewhat well spent. But it's probably easy to find weight in most boats that would hardly be missed.

But in this case it should be easy to find the excessive weight. One could say it's obvious there is excessive weight fwd by observing how she floats on her water lines moulded into the hull. And excessive weight just fwd of amidships may be the cause.
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Old 11-02-2015, 09:26 PM   #16
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Maybe some visual will help
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Old 11-02-2015, 09:54 PM   #17
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To effect a meaningful change I think you're going to have to do a lot more than just go to mostly line rode and move some gear around.

As noted, the easiest way to determine how much weight you need to move or add is to use plastic 55 gal drums and add measure amounts of water to them till you get the change you are looking for.
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Old 11-02-2015, 09:56 PM   #18
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One other question, does the attitude of the boat change in either direction at cruise speed or above?
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Old 11-02-2015, 10:04 PM   #19
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I find at cruise speed it seems to level out, at a bit more than cruise speed it almost starts to hunker down in the stern. There are trim tabs on mine that I have not dove into yet.
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Old 11-02-2015, 10:06 PM   #20
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I find at cruise speed it seems to level out, at a bit more than cruise speed it almost starts to hunker down in the stern. There are trim tabs on mine that I have not dove into yet.
Kind of what I thought. If that is the case you may not want to move and/or add much weight aft.
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