From the Boathouse: Remembering a visionary vessel designer


Boaters know the name and many have been aboard a DeFever yacht.

Sadly, Arthur DeFever passed away last month at age 94. DeFever began his career designing fishing vessels and evolved into designing the cruising and custom yachts that we see in the harbors today.

The art of yacht design and the materials used to build a boat dramatically changed during his designing years. DeFever's influence on yacht design played a major role in how other designers would look at layouts of vessels with engine rooms, and especially when wooden hulls were being replaced by fiberglass.

He will be missed in the boating community, and the family has asked that in lieu of flowers, well-wishers make a donation to a charity such as the Catalina Island Conservancy or the Zoological Society of San Diego.

On another note, the weather and sea conditions look very favorable this weekend after we had a low-pressure system move through Southern California at the beginning of the week. We do need the rain, but be careful boating after rain showers since "stuff" gets washed down the storm drains into our watery playground.

Power boaters, you need to watch your engine temperature gauges because the smaller "stuff" can clog your sea strainers, which will cause your engines, generators and HVAC units to overheat. Your engine shutting down while cruising the harbor can result in a bad day of boating.

However, I digress. The seas will be pleasant for ocean cruising this weekend with 2-foot from the west and a 2-foot southerly creating a little mixed set. The winds will be under 10 knots Friday and Saturday, then pick up for decent sailing to 10 knots-plus from the west Sunday. Keep in mind that light winds will be variable, thus shifting from the south to the west.

The wind waves on top of the swells will be 1 to 2 feet on the coastal waters and up to 3 feet on the outer waters this weekend. Additionally, the outer waters will have 15-plus knot winds, and the seas are predicted to be about as small as the inner water's swells for those going fishing.

The on-water daytime highs will be in the upper 60s with the nighttime lows dropping 10 degrees into the high 50s, creating a small temperature change between the low and high points. You can expect patchy fog along the coast and reaching inland, but the clouds will mostly burn off, making way for sunshine in the afternoons.

Remember, boaters need to always keep an eye to the north and check the weather condition at Point Conception to see what is coming down the coast. The Point might reach small craft warning with wind gusts reaching 20 knots through the weekend. The wind waves will be 4 to 5 feet on top of a mixed set of only 4-foot swells from the northwest and a 1-foot southern swell.

Point Conception will see morning fog, partly sunny afternoon skies and cloudy nights, so this weekend might be a good time to round it. This is a good weather window for the Point, especially if you are traveling downhill in a southerly direction. If you are heading uphill, northbound, then know what you and your vessel can handle safely, and do not take a first-time crew member around the Point until you know their seasickness level.

Tip of the week is that Newport Beach Harbor Resources is holding an abandoned-vessel auction at the Orange County Sheriff's Department's Harbor Patrol facilities Friday morning. The auctions are great if you are looking to purchase a vessel. Viewing opens at 8 a.m., with the auction beginning at 9 a.m.

The items on the auction list are kayaks, paddleboards, inflatables, paddleboats, sabots, canoes and a skiff. So change out of your bunny slippers and head down to the harbor department, 1901 Bayside Drive, Corona Del Mar.

Keep in mind that vessels are sold "as is" and only cash will be accepted, but you can probably get a steal. Keep in mind that all state-registered vessels are subject to a 10-day holding period before the successful bidder can take the boat home.

Please be boat smart and boat safe.

Tune in to the No. 1 boating radio talk show in the nation, "Boathouse Radio Show," broadcasting live coast to coast on the CRN Digital Talk Radio syndicated network at noon Saturdays and replaying throughout the weekend. See times at, and

Safe voyages!

MIKE WHITEHEAD is a boating columnist for the Daily Pilot. Send marine-related thoughts and story suggestions to or go to

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