The Designer: Arthur DeFever

Arthur DeFever is often credited for introducing the Arthur DeFever | designer DeFever Yachtsconcept of trawler-type yachts for pleasure cruising. Design features duplicated from his early commercial tuna clippers include high bow, raised pilothouse, Portuguese bridge, long keels, weight and stability. His contemporary cruiser designs incorporate sea-
kindliness, durability, efficiency, and safety with a style recognized worldwide.

West-coast-born, Arthur DeFever completed an engineering course at the University of Southern California, and a naval architecture course at University of California at Berkeley; then, he worked for Carl Shield and Ted Geary, who were well known architects of large yachts. During World War II he worked in San Diego’s Hodgson-Greene-Haldeman yard producing various military craft. In 1939 DeFever began designing boats – 90’ to 125’ tuna clippers. He later incorporated the bluewater system into his offshore cruiser designs.

DeFEver Commercial designDeFever began designing from his current location, Shelter Island, San Diego in 1946. His first production boat, the Hollywood Cruiser, was a fast, gas-powered boat. His recognizable trawler-type yacht appeared in the 1950s. First a 47’ was built, followed by a 42’, 53’, 56’ and 58’. A generation of streamlined trawlers followed with a flat transom to provide more interior space. In the 1960s and early 1970s a well-known Arthur DeFever classic was built by American Marine– the 46’ Alaskan.  The Portuguese bridge and huge raised pilothouse, DeFever trademarks, also appeared in luxurious trawler-type motoryachts built by Tony Fleming as well as Ocean Alexander and more recently, by Oviatt Marine.

DeFever yachts have been built in yards world-wide including the United Sates, Europe and Mexico. Early production models, 38s, 50s, and 54s were built in Japan. After the collapse of the yen, they were built in several yards in Taiwan including CTF and Tania. Rising building costs prompted a few yards to move production to China, such as POCTA. Some of his megayacht designs were built in Europe for internationally-known clients. DeFever’s designs include commercial fishing vessels, ferries, sport-fisher boats and offshore cruising yachts from 34’ to more than 150’.

Those who have met Arthur DeFever, now 93, describe a tall gentleman with tremendous knowledge and easy manner, an intense love for his craft, and for life in general. His classic designs are cherished by boat owners and respected by the marine industry worldwide.