by Mark Cauthorn member of the Columbia Willamette chapter

My family and I are lifelong boaters I have owned many boats and restored a couple of Chris-Craft Runabouts, every year since I was a child we would attend the Portland boat show and I would talk to Ray DeFir about his boats and waterskiing.

About 15 years ago we bought our first and only DeFir, our boat is the first fiberglass haul that Ray built and the first few had wood decks like ours until he finished a top deck mold, this also is the only boat he built with a Pontiac motor as he usually used Oldsmobile motors.

I worked nearby the original owner of this boat and would see it in his driveway at times which he kept for over 25 years, I purchased the boat from the second owners they had taken the boat to Ray and had him restore it from stem to stern except for a few final finishing items like rebuilding the original Velvet Drive, the carburetor and setting up the ignition, the boat was for sale due to the passing of the second owners husband. I took the boat back to Ray for those last few items it was great to have him basically finish this boat as new for a second time. After that I would go visit Ray regularly until he passed away. He was amazing. We have enjoyed this boat for its great history and superior quality, Ray said this boat was way over built because this was his first fiberglass layup.


  1. Hi Mark,

    Great boat! I have on of Ray’s first boats – a 1960 with a 394 Olds.
    Hard to find any other survivors out there.

    Would like to connect with other DeFir Marine owners out there – bzfrench@me dot com

    • Hey Blake,
      I too have a 1962 Defir. It all wood with a Olds 371 Rocket V-8
      We reside in Northern California. Also my buddy has a 73 all fiberglass one that is coming up for sale.

    • Great story about your DeFir boat. My dad was very good friends with Ray and in the early 60’s Ray and my dad built one of his boats that we kept used for a couple years. It was the first one with a Ford engine and was also the first to use a wrap around one piece windshield My dad was also one of the members of Ray’s team when he broke the world record of skiing 1000 miles on the Columbia. I use to go to his shop with my dad often and then later on I would stop by occasionally in his shop in Troutdale. Great memories of camping with a group on Lemon Island across from his marina on Marine Drive.

  2. Hey I have a defir that I was gonna overhaul but am not going to be able to. If anyone’s interested please let me know lots of extras but is a project.

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