Great Northern is a 1986 DeFever 53 POC (Performance Offshore Cruiser) that was purchased by her current owner in California and has spent the majority of her last ten years in the Pacific Northwest, but her history includes long range trips south to Ensenada Mexico and north to British Columbia, Canada. Under previous ownership she spent time in Florida.
After ten years of wonderful cruising and dedicated restoration, she has been put on the market so that her sellers can attend to other interests. She has been prepared for long range cruising and has been exceptionally cared for with many major re-modeling and replacements to keep her looking and showing like a much younger boat. This is a space efficient three stateroom layout and she is a very well equipped boat that is set up to cruise off the grid and capable of long distance coastal passages. Nearly every system has been upgraded and she has cruised extensively throughout her career so exercised regularly and in remarkable condition for her age in years.
Great Northern represents an excellent opportunity where you can buy a spacious DeFever that is extremely well outfitted for an impressively low price. Great Northern boasts all of the comforts you would want in a live aboard and is especially at home in the Pacific Northwest.
DETAILS & DIMENSIONS
Speed / Weight
Hull & Deck
53 Performance Offshore Cruiser
Coast Guard #:
Guest SR/S: 3/6
- Crew R/B/S: 0/0/0
52' 5" (15.98m)
16' 6" (5.03m)
4' 10" (1.47m)
Cruise Speed RPM:
Cruise Speed Range:
Max Speed RPM:
Max Speed Range:
Sen Koh Shipbuilding, Taiwan
3208 TI (Rebuilt)
Flybridge, flush deck, three stateroom layout, wide walking side decks port and starboard. Raised aft deck (above master stateroom). Spacious saloon with large windows outboard featuring an L- shaped settee aft to port with folding dining table, a commercial sized Dickinson diesel heater/oven and recliner chairs forward. To starboard the saloon includes an entry locker and counter, stairs to the master and a desk with chair forward. There is also a drinks refrigerator and trash compactor. The saloon transitions into the galley to port and includes custom refrigeration, propane stove and oven, double sinks and abundant lockers and drawers. Forward of the galley and on the same level, is the pilothouse with excellent forward visibility. There is a moveable helm chair and a settee aft with table. All of the navigation and communications electronics are neatly arranged forward and above. From the pilothouse you can go outside to the deck through sliding doors port and starboard or up a flight of stairs to the flybridge. The flybridge provides a commanding view, is covered and also features a same level boat deck behind. Back inside the pilothouse, you can go forward from the pilothouse to two guest cabins, each with their own ensuite head and shower. The aft starboard section of the saloon features a curved stairway that leads to a landing. From this landing you can go forward into the engine room or a couple of steps aft to the palatial full beam master stateroom (which also has an ensuite head and shower). The interior features varnished teak bulkheads, wall coverings plus teak and spruce soles in the living areas and granite counters and tile surrounds in the heads.
Great Northern is a marvelous example of a well thought out DeFever 53 and is outfitted with an impressive assortment of gear and equipment – she is ready to take you on your own adventures. She was a break out design by Arthur DeFever typically running in displacement mode with the ability to pick up speed for a quick return to port.
Her current owners have lavished incredible care in renovatingGreat Northernby renewing the interior, rebuilding the engines and adding new systems and electronics. The galley was gutted and rebuilt to resemble a much newer configuration. It has been 30 years since original commissioning, but she shows like a boat that is barely ten years old. Don’t let her age in years fool you, a well preserved older boat that has been carefully restored may provide a much better value than a newer model year that has been neglected or stale when it comes to improvements. In the last 10 years of ownership, just about everything has been upgraded, repaired or replaced on Great Northern(see the Owner’s Comments section for more details on the projects undertaken).
You board Great Northern from either the port or starboard side Marquipt ladders. You can also get aboard if you arrive by tender from the teak transom swim platform. The DeFever 53 design features a single level upper deck with the saloon, galley and pilothouse flowing on one level. The lower level features the staterooms and the engine room. Her side decks are up high off the water and covered overhead. She is a very dry boat underway and you are nicely protected when you are moving on deck.
The upper aft deck “cockpit” is a great outdoor space with chairs and a high off the water view. Forward to port there is a build in adder that leads up to the boat deck. The main deck connects the cockpit to the foredeck by wide covered side decks port and starboard.
Two large hinged opening doors provide entry into the saloon. The saloon and galley merge into a very relaxing and functional area where you can and converse. The teak joinery is beautiful and is well complimented by the remodeled granite countertops in the galley. This single level area makes it easy to prepare, cook and serve meals and refreshments while enjoying the company of guests – there is plenty of room to stand or sit while conversing. There are louvered blinds in the saloon for privacy.
Immediately to port is an L shaped settee with drawer storage beneath topped soft cushion and seat backs reupholstered in marine vinyl. A nice teak table with fold down leaves is positioned for ideal dining. Then the Dickinson Atlantic diesel furnace (very popular on offshore commercial fishing vessels) doubles as an auxiliary oven and has a stainless exhaust pipe up to the boat deck. Forward to port are two comfortable lounge chairs facing aft that back up to the aft galley counter.
Aft to starboard in the saloon is a large double door entry locker with Wilson art laminate counter top for setting down loose items and these counters have a teak trimmed fiddle edge.
The spiral stair case just forward of the entry locker leads down to the master stateroom which is positioned aft for a more comfortable place to sleep while underway or at anchor.
Forward of the stair well is a set of cabinets and a large working desk with chair. The desk area has lockers and drawers. There is stainless faced Uline beverage center (drinks refrigerator with ice maker) and next to that a Kenmore Elite trash compactor and the Splendide clothes washer.
All the way forward in the saloon are two reclining lounge chairs with Ottomans. The saloon has 6’4” headroom with overhead teak handrails on centerline and teak and spruce soles that are covered with area carpeting and runners.
The galley is forward to port with lots of storage space in lockers and drawers. This whole area was remodeled in 2010 and 2011. The remodeled granite counter tops provide an expansive surface for meal preparation. There is a double basin formed composite granite sink outboard to port (all sink plumbing fixtures have been renewed) with a large fixed window to enjoy your outside surroundings. The forward area of the galley features a Kenmore Pro 4 burner propane stove with convection oven and a custom built Seafreeze refrigerator and freezer. The Kenmore Elite convection microwave has stainless steel facing and the bottom also serves as a range hood for the stove top below. The teak and spruce flooring is covered by a carpet runner.
This is a spectacular galley for cooking and preparing food and the chef can easily converse with fellow passengers seated in the saloon. There are plenty of overhead and under counter lockers, many with shelves, and an assortment of drawers. You should find everything you need for a proper seagoing galley.
Across from the galley on the starboard side is a flight of nine steps that leads up to the flying bridge. There is a very slight rise in the floor as you go forward to the pilothouse where all of the ships navigational activities are coordinated.
The operations center of the DeFever 53 is the forward wheel house where you are afforded a spectacular view of your surroundings.
This is a pilothouse forward design – great for looking ahead and seeing what is happening. The windows are all commercial strength and quality with beautiful teak frames. The forward dash cabinetry is teak and includes charcoal colored laminate instrument panels. The overhead console and dash console contain an impressive collection of instruments. There are two sliding doors (port and starboard) that lead outside to the covered side decks. There is room for the Garelick helm chair and behind the helm area is a nice settee bench fronted by a fixed table, where captain and crew can enjoy lunch or just relax while having a cup of coffee. The settee includes stowage underneath. The forward cabinetry includes some wide chart drawer storage.
Since Great Northern was outfitted for long range cruising, the navigation and communications equipment is extensive as should be expected. See details that follow for a complete electronics inventory.
You can take command steering her with the impressive stainless steel circumference, teak spoked destroyer wheel. The dash controls have been logically organized to utilize the ships Nav/Com electronics. On the flat horizontal dash the main engine dual lever controls are easy to reach, as is the joystick for the bow thruster.
Captaining Great Northern truly provides a feeling of piloting a very large yacht – you have a clear view of the outside world (while enjoying the comfort and protection of being inside the pilothouse) and equally as important you can easily do a visual check on all of the yachts electronics, electrical breaker and machinery control panels. The teak and spruce soles are protected with fitted carpeting. The electrical panel is inside a locker with clearly labeled breakers and easy to read analog displays.
Outside you can go forward to the foredeck where the anchor and windlass are situated. There is also a comfortable foredeck seating bench that faces forward with storage underneath and shore power hook up. Going aft you can traverse to the raised upper deck – all of this has overhead covering.
Great Northern is configured with the two guest staterooms forward. The wheelhouse has a smoothly curved forward descending staircase forward that leads to the guest staterooms. This stairwell is beautifully varnished teak.
The forward stateroom in the bow has a wide v-berth sleeping area with a 100% Latex foam mattress. There are lots of lockers and drawers, nicely finished with wall covering, opening portlights and an overhead hatch. The chain locker access is forward. There is an ensuite head with toilet, sink and shower with teak grate to port.
The VIP stateroom is just aft and to port. It is one step down and features an athwartships island berth with a custom queen sized 100% Latex foam mattress. There are two portlights above the shelf at the head of the bed, outboard to port. There is a separate make-up vanity with chair. Inboard there is a separate head and shower with teak grate including sink, toilet and necessary storage. The port stabilizer is serviced under the shower seat.
Both forward cabins have hanging lockers and drawers for clothing storage.
The master stateroom is aft below the saloon and raised aft deck and features a large queen sized island berth running fore and aft for maximum comfort while underway (and it is an ideal arrangement for getting in and out of bed without being hemmed in). You enter the master from the saloon descending the curved stairway.
This stateroom was purposely finished with white wall coverings to compliment the teak and spruce floors and teak cabinetry. This blend of teak and wall coverings provides a lighter and more spacious feel. There are two opening hatches mounted vertically on the aft bulkhead to allow light and ventilation.
Outboard in this stateroom two port two banks of bureau drawers and above each cabinet are opening portlights. To starboard there are large opening lockers with opening portlights above.
There are plenty of lockers and drawers for clothing and other personal effects. The master berth has a custom queen sized 100% Latex foam mattress. You can access the steering gear under the bed. This is a comfortable and reclusive area to read or sleep. The steering system is easily accessed for service by being neatly concealed beneath the bed.
The master connects to a large head and shower forward to port which includes a Vacuflush electric fresh water toilet with blue tile surround, granite counter with flush sink and a separate shower stall with door. The shower includes contemporary shower fixtures and has a custom draining floor pan with sump pump drain.
The forward passage to starboard leads to the engine room. The master stateroom is air-conditioned. This stateroom also benefits from the diesel heater.
The engine room is located below the main saloon and is primarily accessed through the door in the forward end of the master stateroom – it is extremely well layed out and easy to move around in. It is a pleasure to conduct engine room inspections; you have convenient access to the working parts of the main engine and all other important machinery.
The twin Caterpillars have been painted white for a more “marine” look and this is a very comfortable engine room to work in. The generators are outboard and as you will see in the photos all of the systems are logically installed and easily accessible.
The DeFever 53 is very protected when moving about on deck. The foredeck and boat deck feature appropriately sized railings with a beautifully varnished teak cap. The 53 POC profile is by design very high off the water keeping sea water and waves mostly off the deck. The upper aft deck/cockpit is well above the waterline and has is covered overhead by the large extended boat deck. This cockpit area is a great place to relax when docked or at anchor.
The side decks surrounding the saloon and wheelhouse are covered overhead from the cockpit up to the pilothouse and are wide with good height railing for easy access fore and aft. The foredeck provides for an easy anchoring system and includes built in seating forward of the pilothouse.
The flybridge is very large and a wonderful place to operate the boat from. It has a molded fiberglass arch and a canvas covered top that provides shade and protection from the elements.
The dinghy and outboard are mounted on the boat deck on the same level as the flybridge.
Raised Aft Deck/Cockpit
Behind the cockpit is a teak swim platform with a swim ladder as well as a boarding ladder that connects to the raised aft deck/cockpit area. There are side deck boarding doors to port and starboard with folding steps for dock to deck access and you can also arrive by tender to the swim platform and ascend a few steps to the carpeted upper aft deck.
The cockpit is a great place to barbeque or to just relax when at anchor. The boat deck above covers the entire area so you are shaded from the sun and protected from rain. There is a canvas and clear plastic enclosure that snaps in to place to insulate and protect this area. The cockpit is carpeted and has a boarding door aft as well as hawse holes and cleats for mooring. You can go up a ladder to the boat deck, walk along either side deck forward to the foredeck or enter into the saloon through a wide double opening door.
There is a ladder that leads to the boat deck / flybridge from the cockpit. All of the exterior teak has been regularly varnished and looks terrific.
You can get to the foredeck by going forward along either side deck. Forward of the pilothouse is a built in seating area with storage underneath. The windlass and anchor rollers are all the way forward. The Maxwell Nilsson V3000 12V electric windlass can be operated by deck foot buttons – up or down. The anchor is a 60-pound custom made Davis Marine CQR (Lloyds approved) and is attached to 300’ of 3/8” BBB chain. There are three wash down spigots forward, fresh and sea water. Shore power connections are located forward to port and include a 30-amp house and 30-amp air conditioning connection.
The boat deck is above the saloon and can be accessed by the aft deck ladder or by climbing a set of stairs from the pilothouse (nice to have access from inside the boat in inclement weather). The tender is a relatively new 2013 model RIB, an Achilles 3.5 DLX 11’6” with a 9.9 HP outboard. The tender has current state of Oregon registration. To launch the tender there is a rotating crane that uses electric boom winches.
This is a large full beam flybridge with all of the necessary controls and impressive visibility. The flybridge has a stainless steel Bimini frame with a blue canvas cover.
Machinery System Features
(2) Caterpillar 3208 TI 375 HP main engines with Twin Disc transmissions. Both engines were rebuilt after 6,000 hours per manufacturers recommendation. Painted white
New exhaust blankets on both mains
PSS dripless shaft seals
Dual Racor 1000 MA’s for mains
Fuel manifold with Algae- X
(2) Onan generators 9 kW and 17 kW
Built in oil change system
Four mild steel fuel tanks with sight tubes (optional forward fuel tank was taken out of service but remains in place)
Fuel transfer pump with Racor 1000 MA filter
Naiad #252 active fin stabilizers
Wesmar V2-12E electric bow thruster12 HP dual 12” propellers with controls in pilothouse and flybridge.
Originally delivered with multi-zone air conditioning – saloon, pilothouse, master and guest stateroom, the system was minimalized so that only the master stateroom has air conditioning now.
Dickinson Atlantic diesel heating system (installed in saloon with stainless steel chimney to boat deck) blue tile backing
Fireboy fire suppression system for engine room
Spurs line cutter on main engine propeller shafts
Oil changing pump for mains and generators
Craftsman multi drawer tool chests forward (no tools included)
Naiad stabilizer reservoir and controls
Torrid 30-gallon hot water heater
Sealand Vacuflush pumps
Sealand Sanigard charcoal vent filter
Tank Watch 4 monitor for holding tank
3M Marine water filter fresh water purifying system
Jabsco Par Max Ultra fresh water pressure pump
East Penn - Intimidator AGM batteries
Protech 4 battery regulator
Battery select switch control panel on aft bulkhead
Engine room intercom hand set
Note: Air conditioning was removed from Great Northern in all areas except the master stateroom.
Note: Forward fuel tank under guest cabin sole has been de-commissioned
Note: Steering gear located underneath master stateroom berth
Electrical System Features
Magnum Magnasine MS2812 3000-watt inverter with battery charger
Marinco TV/Phone inlet
Northern Lights 12 kW generator
East Penn - Intimidator AGM batteries all replaced in 2014
(1) 50’ 50-amp shore power cord
(2) 50’ 30-amp shore power cords
(1) 30-amp/50-amp splitter
Galley, Laundry & Plumbing Features
All loose galley items on board will remain with the vessel – plates, mugs, silverware, etc.
Kenmore four burner propane stove with convection oven – stainless back guard
Xintex propane fume detector
Trident LPG gas control
Kenmore Elite microwave oven with stainless steel facing
Seafreeze stand up refrigerator lower half, freezer upper section
Uline beverage refrigerator and icemaker
Splendide 7100XC combo clothes washer and dryer
Teak and spruce sole
Large opening window outboard above sink
Dual basin composite sink with new faucet
Overhead lockers and under counter drawers
Kenmore Elite trash compactor
Granite counters in heads and galley
Fresh water deck wash down at bow, stern and engine room
Cockpit and foredeck sea water wash down
Shore water connection on foredeck
30-gallon Torrid hot water heater
3M fresh water purifier with filters
Plumbed for water maker, original was removed and not replaced
(3) Vacuflush electric fresh water toilets – one for each stateroom
Maxwell Nilsson 3500 reversing windlass with foredeck foot buttons
Twin anchor rollers
Burgee socket on bow roller
60-pound custom made Davis Marine CQR type anchor with swivel
300 feet 3/8” BBB chain
Stainless steel bow anchor breast plate
Teak swim platform with dinghy tie cleats
Swim grab rails on swim platform
Stainless steel swim ladder with teak steps
Built in footsteps on side of hull
Visors on master stateroom portlights
Clamp on rod holders on boat deck vertical supports
Aft deck has carpet covering
Stainless compression post for dinghy crane
Coat hanger hooks
Binocular rack on saloon bulkhead
Stainless ladder with varnished teak steps (access to boat deck)
Opening hatch from aft deck to boat deck has varnished teak trim
Stainless steel rope spool for stern anchoring
Varnished teak caprail
Hinged boarding gates – port and starboard
Marquipt aluminum boarding ladder – six step (connects port and starboard) for access from dock to side decks
Two fiberglass dock boxes on foredeck
Stainless steel fender racks on foredeck
Built in seating on foredeck with cushions and cover
Shore power connections forward
Dock side water inlet forward
Molded nonskid (painted over)
Covered side decks from cockpit to just aft of pilothouse
Newmar hailer speaker at pilothouse windows
Dual trumpet air horn
Dock lines and fenders
Owner’s manuals for appliances and equipment
Additional Interior Equipment
Custom louvered blinds for saloon windows
Custom mattress in master stateroom
Carpeting in saloon and pilothouse
All port lights have removable bug screens
Zodiac 6-person offshore life raft canister pack in cradle on boat deck.
Lifesling mounted on boat deck
Coast Guard safety equipment included
(6) Survival suits
Additional Comments & Upgrades
Great Northern is a US Coast Guard documented vessel. Her tender is registered in OR. Machinery and equipment has been carefully maintained. Her current owners have meticulously gone through the boat with great detail after purchasing her in 2006 and in addition to making the normal survey item fixes have done an extensive restoration including rebuilding the engines and remodeling the galley, plus adding in new nav/com and a new tender. As each project is completed they have found something else to improve. Now that they are done they have come to realize they don’t have the time they would like to thoroughly enjoy her. Great Northern is in excellent condition for her age and should get excellent passing grades from the most discriminating surveyor. in addition to normal maintenance and regular use to keep systems in good working order, the following projects and improvements have been undertaken since 2006:
Hull painted with Matterhorn White - Awlgrip – 2010 and 2011
Aristo Blue Awlgrip stripe– 2011
New interior work done 2010 and 2011
All windows and portlights removed, cleaned and re-bedded – 2011
Engine room was redone including the engine rebuilds, project started in 2009 and includes a new electrical panel, new wiring
Both Caterpillar main engines rebuilt at 6,500 hours – starboard 2007, port 2008
New exhaust out of turbos to wet part plus blankets - 2008
Wesmar 24V bow thruster with Side Power controls in pilothouse and fly – 2010
Naiad active fin stabilizers, new seals and re-conditioned – 2012
Onan 17 kW generator installed 2003
Onan 9 kW generator in service 2011
Magnum MagnaSine MS2812 - charger and inverter - installed 2012
All ships batteries replaced with East Penn AGM - June, 2015
Galley remodel – new granite counters and upgraded cabinetry and appliances – 2010 and 2011
New air conditioning unit in master – 2007 (other units removed)
Torrid MV30 - 30-gallon hot water heater – new in 2010
Dickinson diesel range installed in saloon - 2013
All sanitary hoses for heads and black water replaced – 2011
Fuel tanks drained, cleaned and pressure tested – 2011
Fireboy fire suppression in engine room inspected and recharged – 2011
Pilothouse electronics including Furuno suite wiring in 2010 and 2011
Achilles RIB 3.5 DLX tender purchased new -2013
Windlass new rebuild kit and rebuilt starter plus two new deck switches – 2011
Flybridge and pilothouse compasses rebuilt - 2012
Life raft serviced and repacked – 2012
Hull waxed – 2015
Bottom paint renewed – 2015
Exterior caprail varnished – 2015
Toshiba lap top with Rose Point navigation - 2014
Simrad 6kW open array- 2015
Simrad second radar 4G - 2015
I’ve been buying and restoring boats for 60 years as a hobby, in the case of the Great Northern I had a dream of buying a good class built boat and creating a new boat out of an older boat. The dream came true over a number of years, the only thing original is the teak and fiber glass. The two Caterpillar engines were rebuilt by a true Cat mechanic and all systems were replaced. Because of my commercial marine background, I wanted the safest boat I could build for coastal and offshore cruising. To that extent I believe I’ve achieved this in the Great Northern.
The previous owner bought the boat twenty years ago in Florida and he and two friends ran the boat thru the Panama Canal home to San Diego. He and his wife then cruised the boat to Alaska for the next six summers living in British Columbia in the winters. They then decided a warmer climate would be nice so they headed for La Paz Mexico. After this they took the boat up to the Channel Islands above LA where we purchased the boat.
There are so many things the average person doesn’t think of when buying an older boat that we did to make the Great Northern safe and TROUBLE FREE. The biggest chore and cost was the whole boat has been painted with Awlgrip and all the windows and portlights were removed re-bedded and refastened. This is a boat where the windows don’t leak. Without exception the systems were all replaced, such as potable water, electrical, exhaust, moving parts of stabilizers renewed, bilge pumps, the list goes on and on.
My love in life are projects and this boat has been the love of my life I’ve enjoyed the journey. We’ve also enjoyed all the cruising and fishing trips off of the Oregon and Washington coasts and the adventures Great Northern has taken us on.
The listing broker flew to Portland, Oregon to visit Great Northern in December, 2015 in order to take current photos and inspect her condition. She is moored in a protected boat house and her appearance inside and out shows great care. It is normal to have some trepidation when you hear an owner touting the exceptional condition of a thirty-year-old boat, but now that I have seen her for myself I’m a believer. After spending the full day aboard going over the details with the owner it is nearly impossible to succinctly summarize the attention to detail that has kept Great Northern so beautifully maintained. You simply must step aboard Great Northern to fully appreciate her condition. Additional photos beyond those that are published online are available upon request.
The DeFever 53 is a capable long range coastal trawler design and Great Northern provides an excellent opportunity to purchase a lovingly restored boat – a lot of boat for the money, and a boat that has been upgraded and updated, lovingly restored and beautifully maintained…ready to take off for adventurous coastal cruising.
Some tools and owner’s personal effects will be removed including the tea kettle in the galley and the clock and barometer in the saloon. Tools will be removed, but tool box will remain. Binoculars, hand held VHF and hand held GPS will be removed. Potential purchasers should realize that items on the vessel at the time of viewing, but not specifically listed on this sheet, may not be included with the sale of the yacht. These specifications are believed to be true and correct, but cannot be guaranteed.