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Jun 14, 2016
Hi everyone. Love the forum.

I am new to the forum and to boating for that matter. Now this is likely a silly question and one that I probably already know the answer to but I am considering the purchase of a 1973 41' Defever Passage maker as a liveaboard. Being a wood boat should I run like hell and only look at fiberglass or is the Defever 41' a solid enough boat to be an option.

Thank you in advance.
Welcome to the forum! As with buying anything used, it's probably more about condition of that particular boat and your intended use. Post a link to the boat or pictures for us to get a better feel for the one you are looking at. Also describing how and where you will use it would be helpful.

Thank you for the response, it will be a full time live-aboard in Victoria BC, I will also continue to work full time while living on it.
Here is a pic and ad copy.


**Boat is currently out of the water but will go back in this week. To view boat while it's out, please contact Alfred to arrange a time**

1973 DeFever 41' Passagemaker trawler, still going strong. As with DeFevers in general, this boat has classic lines and was designed with an eye for proportion and style.

DeFever produced its last wood hull boats in 1973, and this mahogany hull is one of the last built. I'm the second owner, and the boat was originally sailed from Connecticut to Los Angeles via the Panama Canal.

The boat has enough fuel and water capacity for long and leisurely trips, and a trawler hull for extended cruising in blue water. It's economical with a seaworthy full displacement hull that saves on fuel costs.

I just sailed this long-range cruiser from San Pedro to Morro Bay, and back down to Port San Luis. A mooring is available in San Luis Obispo harbor to buyer for additional cost.

Overall the heavy lifting's been done to restore and maintain this boat, but it still needs some cosmetic work.
Included is the original DeFever brochure with the boat's specs, features and structural diagrams.


LOA - 41'
Beam - 13'8"
Draft - Forward 3'6", Aft 4'6"
Dry weight - 28,000 lbs


Single engine Ford Lehman 6-cyl diesel, 120-hp with 3,790 hours
Engine partially overhauled, still smokes some.
Two fuel tanks -- total fuel capacity 450 gallons
Racor high-capacity fuel filter installed
New main bearings, new rod bearings, new piston rings
New head gasket
New starter
Three deep cycle newer marine batteries (less than 6 months old)
Built-in marine battery charger
Spare propeller
Bilge pump in working order with new float switch; two spare bilge pumps included (not installed)

Mahogany wood hull; all imperfections below water line repaired
Two fresh coats of bottom paint applied just this month
Shaft and rudder zincs replaced
Manual windlass
40-lb. anchor with ground tackle, 150 feet rope, 25 feet 3/8-inch chain


This trawler is like a condo on the water, with lots of room and a good setup for liveaboards.
Nicely laid out, including comfortable and spacious salon and galley area

Newer, three-burner (one large and two smaller burners) gas range and oven with stainless steel top and face
Built-in 12 volt refrigeration system
Freestanding 110v refrigerator
Two sliding deck access doors
Lots of built in storage
Two double-berth staterooms - forward double berth with 1/2 bath, and spacious aft Master stateroom with double berth and bath with shower and head
Settee table has height-adjustable legs to convert to double berth, for three double berths total

Aft head is electric, disconnected to comply with Coast Guard regulations
Antique brass lamp light fixture over settee
40-watt Solar panel
Fresh water tank, stainless steel - capacity 240 gallons
Hot water heater, works with both shore power and engine heat
Auto pilot included with boat, but not installed
Updated Captain's chair
Suspended pull-down navigation/chart table

Bring your own navigation equipment
Seacocks cleaned & serviced
Working VHS radio
Two propane tanks
All Coast Guard compliant standards met - Life jackets and preservers, horn, fire extinguishers, flares, etc
Portable generator
Teak swim step
Certainly a capable boat. Would you do any cruising or weekend trips with it? If you make an offer, be sure it's contingent on a thorough survey by someone with extensive wood boat surveying experience.

Oops.. Posted twice.. Sorry about that.. Yes I plan to do some cruising with it, likely in and around tge BC coast.. I do plan to have any offer or agreement to purchase contingent on a survey.. Like I said I do like the boat but not looking for a full time maintenance commitment so still a bit iffy about buying a wood boat..

Thank you for your input.
Oops.. Posted twice.. Sorry about that.. Yes I plan to do some cruising with it, likely in and around tge BC coast.. I do plan to have any offer or agreement to purchase contingent on a survey.. Like I said I do like the boat but not looking for a full time maintenance commitment so still a bit iffy about buying a wood boat..

Thank you for your input.
My opinion is that a wood hull boat would be a full time maintenance commitment. Your costs will be quite a bit higher than with the same boat with a fiberglass hull. Wood hull boats are beautiful, but they are an expensive labor of love to maintain. We had a 36 ft. wood hull boat as our family boat when I was a kid and I know the boat was pulled out every year for hull caulking and painting. I would think long and hard about this and do a lot of research before buying. See if you can find a boatyard that employs anybody with experience working on wood hulls and talk to them. Good Luck
Thank you for your input,

I agree and have decided to pass on this boat and the notion of any wood boat. Having grown up in Newfoundland surrounded by old wooden boats I guess I have a bit of a soft spot for them. If my budget provided for it I'd love to have a Tollycraft 48'..
Well keep looking I suppose, I'd hope to have something by this fall. Thanks again and I look forward to being part of this great forum. ��

Craig there is very little mentioned about the hull timbers, (ribs) planking and Deadwood keel which would be massive in that boat. Also, carvel planked boats like her need to be "wet" if allowed to dry out like she is now, the planks begin to shrink paint cracks, caulking (cotton) and seam compound may need replacement. But if you want a wood boat the PNW is the place to ne!
Yah.. That's allot of questions that I have no answers to.. Good reason to stick with fiberglass I suppose. :)
that's where I saw it! Ebay.... I see the Choy Lee is up to 6600 lol I can't knock Ebay I sold a smaller sailboat there. sold a car. Bought kubota diesel parts for my sailboat from a really nice tractor supply.
As others have said, a wooden boat is a labor of love. My boat (avatar picture) is an 80 year old woody. I work pretty hard to keep it in good shape. In a typical year I would say that Maintenance typically comes in around 300 hours. This year was a bit more. If you are paying a yard to do the work that works out to at least $20K a year when you include materials. Right now I am in the process of replacing a galley counter top and the ceiling over it. That small project will run about 30-40 hours by the time it is done. At yard rates that works out to somewhere between $2,500 and $3,000.

As far as buying a woody goes, it is essential that you get a comprehensive survey by a qualified wooden boat surveyor. I would also have a wooden boat shipwright look the boat over. Even a boat that looks really good can go bad in just a couple of years if not properly maintained. A boat like that Defever would probably require $20K-$30K a year to hire a yard to properly maintain it. If there are any problems the repair cost could be a LOT higher. Basically any rot anywhere means that that wood must be replaced, the source of fresh water that caused the rot identified and repaired and the area of the leak and the rot thoroughly checked out for additional rot. For example, a few years ago I found some rot in my cabin house. After checking everything out I ended up removing the cabin house and building a completely new one - about 500 hours labor plus $10K for materials (mahogany is expensive).
It's interesting that they say it went from Conn. to LA on its own bottom and the listing seems to indicate it only has one bilge pump. :eek:
Craig - Do you know if this boat sold on Ebay in July? Do you know the boat name?

Too bad you ran - we have a 1969 wood DeFever in the PacNW and she is a dream boat! DeFever made them right.
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