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Ocean Alexander 50 MkI X De Fever 49

Discussion in 'Ocean Alexander Yacht' started by Jose C Falchi, Mar 25, 2012.

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  1. Jose C Falchi

    Jose C Falchi New Member

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    Guarujá - Brazil
    Hi everybody,
    I'm loking around to buy a classic trawler and since I'm on a tight budget I'm considering either an Ocean Alexander 50 Mk I or a De Fever 49, either around 1980.
    What would be the best one?
    Are there any big issues that I should know about them?
    Is it possible to get magazines reviews on these boats?
    Thanks for the help.
  2. Kafue

    Kafue Senior Member

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    Welcome Jose,
    I owned a 1980 Ocean Alexander Mk1 for 4 years. Did a lot of cruising with a young family as crew.
    Great boat! I cannot make a comparison for you on the DeFever as I have never been on one.
    The OA Mk1 Pilothouse is a true classic and has timeless, salty design that will always be admired. Ours had twin Ford Lehman 120 Hp, so she was slow. They are great sea boats, typical of trawler based full displacement. Wonderful family and entertaining boat. Steering from the flybridge is a joy, no engine noise and it feels like you are under sail.
    There were no stabilisers and the first sea trip scared the heck out of me due to the rolling, sea and swell were about 4' to 6'. If you are not used to this, be prepared, you will think the boat will go over, but after a while you get the rhythm and it is not too unpleasant. My wife had a different opinion and would only venture offshore in calm waters. If you can get the OA with original timber work then you will see it is beautiful golden Burmese teak. Unfortunately, a lot of owners have painted over some of these and in my case, used automotive carpeting on top of the teak to “lighten” the interior. It took me days of sugar soap and elbow grease to get it off and then get the teak back right. I assume this is the OA with the Portuguese bridge, and a great layout of pilothouse and galley. We found the design almost perfect, except for one major (for us) flaw and that is the cockpit is way too small for decent entertaining etc. although we still managed to do a lot of fishing. As with all my boats, I added outriggers (small ones) and we landed many pelagic.
    The OA can also take a large group of passengers out, just make sure to ask them not to all run to port or stbd at the same time when they are on the flybridge, it kind of makes you, as the skipper, miss a heartbeat. This happened a couple of times when we had friends out doing whale watching. Dolphins and whales love these displacement boats and we often had them surfing at our bow. Full walk round is safe for kids and allows you to make use of so much more of the boat!
    The hull and just about all the boat is solid, very solid, thick fibreglass. You will probably find some osmosis below the waterline, no big deal, I had mine sand blasted to get rid of years of anti-foul, repair the blisters and she was fine.
    Issues: If the boat has that latrine smell, be prepared to remove the piping/hoses and plumbing for the heads, the smell is caused from both, so better to just get rid of old hoses.
    Water tanks are very often rusted and have these checked carefully. Same goes for the fuel tanks, if the forward one is original be prepared that you may have a major job if it is bad. The rear one is easier to get at.
    Learn how to handle following seas (no offence if you already do) as you will not out run them, no matter how much horse power you have. Sometimes the reverse gear gets used as much as forward to get into a seaway.
    Some came with higher horsepower CAT engines, I don’t think they made much difference to performance, just put a bigger hole in the water.
    We had no bow thruster, so although she is a heavy boat, the current, wind and tide make for being very aware of conditions on berthing and anchoring, I got caught out once trying to anchor with little room for error and it was tough.
    Ours had full teak decks, forward and cockpit. Many of the screws had allowed water intrusion so be wary of this, especially where you see new screws, check the decks carefully and if there is new headliner, it could mean there were leaks that are still present. Most the windows will have leaked and left stains and will need new runners. They have good pilothouse doors that allow the top half to open while stopping spray from entering the pilothouse. This little amount of spray can cause a lot of water stains and leakage over time, so keep the bottom closed underway.
    I never hesitated taking our boat on long trips. An all-round well-built sea kindly trawler, with plenty of room for all the family (3 cabins). One of the best boats I have owned and run.
    Good luck

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  3. sunchaserv

    sunchaserv Member

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    I can only but echo Kafue regarding the OA - great vessel if well cared for properly. I took one to survey a few years ago and was scared off by the rusty fuel tanks. On 30+ year old boats condition is the key, not the brand. If you pre-inspect an old vessel for teak deck leaks, through hulls, all tanks, cap rail integrity/water intrusion and leaks around doors, hatches and windows you can eliminate a lot of potential red flags before survey. DeFevers were built equally sound too, with a loving PO or two being very important.
  4. Jose C Falchi

    Jose C Falchi New Member

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    Thank you so much Kafue. Tou gave me the just kind of input I needed. Wish you the best!
  5. Jose C Falchi

    Jose C Falchi New Member

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    Many thanks to you too Sunchaserv, I will pay attention to your tips. Cheers!
  6. Kafue

    Kafue Senior Member

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    Obrigado Jose!
    You are welcome and Good luck!
  7. buouObuoy

    buouObuoy New Member

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    Ok, sometimes much can be gained by breathing new life into an old thread.

    Does anyone have any new experiences to add here about the seaworthiness and care of these relatively old boats?
  8. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    I ran one of these on a long delivery, a 1978 50' OA with a flybridge. Ft. Lauderdale, FL, to Corpus Christi, TX. It had twin Cummins triple nickels, but ones they called the big bore or something and highest HP rating. It dug a big hole in the water and cruised at around 10.3 knots. Boat had a good layout and was roomy. Seemed to be well built with good systems. It had a lot of range. I could run about 350NM at cruise. I think it held around 500 gallons. The boat was seaworthy and handled seas on the beam and bow pretty good, on the stern a bit scary but common of the trawlers. It would lean over on one side of the keel and felt like it rode on the hull side and would surf down the wave for about 300 yards and then all of a sudden flop back upright and turn about 45 degrees....wasn't a fun experience.
  9. buouObuoy

    buouObuoy New Member

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    Good, candid comments Capt J. Much appreciated.
    Have you done any similar runs with a Grand Banks 42?
    Ok, different hulls but I would still like to hear what you have to say, if anything.
  10. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    I've run Grand Banks 42's but not in the ocean that I can remember, I do remember it does 7.2 knots and will not go any faster. I ran one repowered with new Lehmans with electronic displays, they made a bit more HP than the old ones, so it did 7.2 knots at a lower rpm, if you brought it up any higher in rpms it did the same speed, but dug a bigger hole and handled funny.
  11. olderboater

    olderboater Senior Member

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    Clarifying that Capt J is referring to classic GB's. Current models run much faster.
  12. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    Yes, 1980's. The newish 42' Europa zues boat cruises around 20 knots.

    I will say, the 50' OA had a really nice exterior layout and good visibility..... both from the pilothouse and FB.
  13. Kafue

    Kafue Senior Member

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    Those boaters who are accustomed to the regular type of ride at sea, whether an experienced captain or occasional boater, might well be struck or even frightened by the way the OA 50 travels on the water. However, this is a time tested hull design that is little changed from a commercial trawler hull of the period and is safe. Just because passenger or crew find the movement unusual and disconcerting, does not mean it is wrong or not seaworthy.
    The boat will slip and slide and roll with the ocean, as it was designed to do, but she will float!
    I'd rather be on this boat in bad seas than a modern version, so called "trawler", that is little more than a fat and flat hull meant to be push over the water instead of a part of the water/waves/ocean.
    Proof lies in how these wonderful boats have retained their value and more importantly, are STILL being used for voyaging around the coast.
  14. Joe Graceffo

    Joe Graceffo New Member

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    Hello all. I would like to revive this thread and would appreciate any comments. I am currently looking at both the OA 50 MK1 and Defever 49 RPH. Very similar looking boats. Similar layouts. Differences I have seen so far, The OA interior layout is similar to the coveted Plan B Defever, so that is a plus. All other differences appear minor except for engines (with perhaps more options available in the OA) and perhaps height of engine room above the engines. Has anyone been aboard both of these boats of similar age and can you comment on whether or not there is more engine room height in the Defever? Is there similar space on the outboard side of the engines on both these boats? Thanks in advance for any replies.
  15. JimmyL

    JimmyL Member

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    I see that you’re in Comox, BC. A few of the insightful comments here reference stability characteristics in open seas. Assuming you may be staying in inner coastal waters as many do in this area of the world, those issues may not be as relevant.
    The biggest deciding factor on a boat of that age should be the mechanical condition. Both boats are well made/designs and getting a boat of that age to ideal condition can be a challenge depending on how she was treated and the care imparted by previous owners.
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2018
  16. Joe Graceffo

    Joe Graceffo New Member

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    Actually I have narrowed my search down to Defever 49 and OA 50 MK I because both these designs have good sea keeping characteristics, especially those that come with active fin stabilizers, which is a must for me. My search has so far been virtual and I have yet to step aboard either of these vessels. From photos that I have seen posted on yachtworld, it appears as the OA has lower head room in the engine room (judging by space above the engines) but this could be an illusion. That is why I asked for some real world opinions of those that have been aboard both these types of boats. I agree that a previous owner has much to do with the condition and repair status that a boat comes in, so all things being equal, I would prefer as much engine room wiggle space as possible to do my own maintenance. My current boat is so tight in the ER that I have to be a contortionist to get everywhere, so ER space is going to be a big factor for me. I would even consider a Cheoy Lee 46 or 50 LRC.
  17. Eric-K

    Eric-K New Member

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    Marine Trader 49 RPH ?
  18. gsholz

    gsholz New Member

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    I always liked the look of the OA MK1. The big issue for me was lack of access in the engine room. It is surprisingly tight for an otherwise substantial boat.
  19. Joe Graceffo

    Joe Graceffo New Member

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    I have since been on both the Defever 49 and the OA 50 MK1 and found that there was slightly less height from the top of the engine stringer to the ceiling on the OA, on top of that, the Cat 3208's take up more room than the Lehmans, leaving even less room. Still a toss up, coming down to condition of the individual boats.
  20. dennismc

    dennismc Senior Member

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    Be sure to have the fuel, tanks verified o either vessel, they may be steel construction and subject to internal rust.

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