The DeFever line of trawlers has enjoyed an incredible acceptance by the boating market since first being introduced in the 1970s and is still going strong. Arthur DeFever is responsible for the designs and his name is on the brand, but the history of how these trawlers were actually built is one that can’t be told without the man running the yards, Wilson Lin.
A Taiwan native, Wilson was involved early in yacht construction and one of the first designs he worked on was the Doug Peterson / Jack Kelly 44 foot cruising sailboat. There is a San Diego connection in Wilson’s life as Jack Kelly introduced Arthur DeFever, who was looking for a place to have his designs built, to Wilson Lin. Wilson and Arthur formed a mutual bond of trust which led to over three decades of collaboration.
When they met, Wilson was in his 30’s and Arthur in his 60’s. Wilson has an excellent command of the English language and as a native Taiwanese he would translate and encourage his team to keep getting better. Arthur was later in his career, renowned worldwide for his naval architecture so it was an inspiring pairing. Arthur and Wilson spent a lot of time together over many years of business and friendship. The two worked together closely at Wilson’s yards in Taiwan and later China and their business partnership included many back and forth meetings in San Diego, CA and other US locations.
Wilson is a good listener, and an active world traveler. In addition to time with Arthur DeFever, Wilson received many of the owners and dealers as guests who flew over to Asia to visit him at his yards to see first-hand the care and attention to construction. This was a never-ending collaboration to contribute to the building of this iconic brand.
Arthur knew what he wanted from his designs and how they should be completed. Wilson is very focused on attention to detail. Together they worked closely to insure Wilson and his team were able to provide the right quality and value to please the American market. Wilson learned by doing, listening, improving and creating. This pursuit of excellence enabled Wilson to oversee the production of over 500 DeFever’s. Wilson’s talent spans the management of three yards in Taiwan, and culminating in the POCTA location in China where DeFever’s were built starting in 1990. Wilson is proud to think of each boat that left his yard as a daughter, and he remains interested in hearing how each of them is doing.
Jeff Merrill has been involved with the sale of several brokerage DeFever’s and has been in the marine industry as long as Wilson, but they have never done any business together. Jeff was helping a client buy a DeFever 44 which led to an impromptu email introduction to Wilson. The two traded notes and this led to an opportunity to meet together in person for the first time. Jeff recorded the two of them talking at the end of a dock in Newport Beach, CA and Wilson followed up by supplying the majority of the photos included.
Thanks for watching Episode 6. We hope this video will give you a better understanding about the quality and craftsmanship in Asia of Arthur DeFever’s beautifully designed trawlers.
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