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Ovni 370 review – go-anywhere shoal draught cruising

  • Toby Hodges
  • July 19, 2022

Ovni’s smallest new model, the Ovni 370 is packed with smart thinking to appeal to those who want to cruise all waters, says Toby Hodges

Product Overview

Manufacturer:, price as reviewed:.

With its distinctive range of bare aluminium lift-keel cruisers, Alubat’s Ovni brand has been synonymous with bluewater cruising since the 1970s. After a barren period it came out with a contemporary new Ovni 400 two years ago and has followed that up with an arguably more innovative and approachable shorter model, the Ovni 370.

The Ovni 370 shares some of the styling of the 400, in particular the angular and voluminous look with full forward sections, so it shan’t win any beauty prizes. However, Ovnis have always attracted more for practicality than aesthetics, and this model certainly packs in the features for its length.

The Les Sables-d’Olonne yard wanted the Ovni 370 to have a true deck saloon, a panoramic heart as opposed to the (optional) lower single level format of the 400 – clearly a popular decision which all 17 buyers so far have chosen.

Once you accept you need to climb up and down steps to get through the boat, the benefits are multifarious. This is particularly true of the Ovni 370, which has many of the staple ingredients bluewater sailors will look for even at this size, including a deep, protected cockpit, a pilot berth in the deck saloon, wet hanging stowage and a proper navstation.

Another benefit is the stowage space below a deck saloon – enough for 300lt water and 300lt diesel tanks in the Ovni’s case.

ovni yachts review

The transom skirt with arch above is a recipe Ovni has perfected. A block and tackle system is used for the dinghy and the liferaft has a prime central location. Photo: Andreas Lindlahr/EYOTY

Built for distance

Alubat says the design development began after it received many requests for its old 365 model. However, that was a Category B (offshore) rated design and the majority of its clients today are couples who want to go long distances. Nina Karlseder from Création Brouns Architecture, one of the five designers who worked on the Ovni 370, explained the major challenges involved with trying to make a Category A yacht with a lift keel at this size and volume.

The keel, which lifts completely inside the boat to allow for beaching, needed to be kept light enough to raise manually yet heavy enough for stability purposes when lowered.

Meanwhile the hull needed to be stable and light in the right places. So a light aluminium plate was chosen, milled into a NACA profile, and over three tonnes of ballast was used in the hull to make up the necessary righting moment. The 260kg ballasted centreboard has a safety release in case of grounding and a plate protecting the bottom of the boat for drying out.

The result, the yard argues, is the least expensive new Category A lift keel yacht. But what is it like under sail?

ovni yachts review

The voluminous bow and hard chines create significant living space and helped the designers achieve a prime goal of meeting Category A ocean-going requirements. Photo: Andreas Lindlahr/EYOTY

Sailing the Ovni 370

We had a very pleasant late afternoon sail off La Rochelle in 8-9 knots true wind. As mentioned, the centre of gravity needs to be strictly controlled with a centreboard design, hence the relatively short rig and a modest 33m2 Solent jib. The only option for added oomph here is a laminate square-top main and running backstays, as the test boat sported.

Still, the Ovni 370 is not blessed with a shape designed for pointing or upwind speed. Her angular shape has plenty of wetted surface area and in these single figure windspeeds, 4-4.5 knots were average beating speeds – and at wide tacking angles.

As we know, though, no well-planned cruise should involve sailing to windward, hence we spent the majority of the time under Code 0 averaging over 5.5 knots reaching at 60° to the apparent wind. The helming experience was enjoyable – nice and light on the dual rudder steering with good balance and some feedback.

ovni yachts review

The views and natural light benefits of a deck saloon. The linear galley has good stowage and solid fiddles, and ajdoins a practical navstation aft. Photo: Christophe Favreau

The helmsman has a snug area between the aft end of the coamings and the davits with clear sightlines forward, while the primaries are within easy reach with handy tailing lockers under the cockpit benches. The mainsheet and reefing lines are led to the coachroof winches, which is a good, protected position for a crewmember, but it does mean that those sailing short-handed will need to rely on the autopilot while they trim sails.

A fixed aluminium dodger is an option, but the very deep cockpit already offers excellent protection behind the high coamings and sprayhood (which links to the bimini on the arch). Sturdy handrails and toerails, good non-slip and a high coachroof make it feel safe and robust around the deck. The foredeck feels huge, and a double bow roller allows the setting of two anchors.

ovni yachts review

Generous berths and plenty of light in both cabins. Photo: Christophe Favreau

Ovni 370 accommodation

The two-cabin plan makes excellent use of the interior space. The saloon layout is particularly smart, with a table that drops to create a large daybed or pilot berth. The latter uses a carbon pole for a backrest (with cushions), which can be moved to double as a leeboard.

A large wet hanging locker is located beside the companionway, and the decision to split the heads and shower (more potential wet hanging) works well. The heads links through to a work/utility cabin aft, where a bunk can be fitted, but this primarily serves as a wonderful amount of stowage for long term cruisers.

Abundant natural light and lots of light trim make for a modern, fresh look, albeit with a few sharp edges on the window surrounds and bulkhead coverings on the prototype we sailed. The interior is insulated with sprayed cork above the waterline and owners can choose whether to leave this exposed or cover with headlining.

The port aft cabin is capacious, with tall headroom, wide berth, good stowage and a large porthole. Headroom reduces to 5ft 10in in the entrance to the forward cabin. On the test boat this had an extra wide but relatively short (1.85m) berth, and a vast shower room with space for a washing machine abaft the main bulkhead.

Ovni has since addressed the balance of these areas, pushing the bulkhead further aft to increase the berth length – a bonus of building in aluminium over a fixed mould.

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The concept and design of the 370 is commendable. It fulfils a valuable and obviously popular niche. It’s packed with dependable features, feels robust throughout and offers a more affordable and approachable size level for go-anywhere shoal draught cruising. So much so it makes you wonder who might buy the larger 400 now. It is comparatively good value for an aluminium cruiser, however the price has already increased 13% since last year due to materials costs. It has a quirky, utilitarian style, and is not for those who wish to get places quickly (particularly upwind). But for a new distance cruiser at this size for modest paced sailing in comfort it would make my shortlist.

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  • Dick Durham
  • April 8, 2010

With her tough, aluminium hull, the Ovni 365 can cross oceans, yet her lifting keel and rudder enable her to explore the shallowest creek. Dick Durham steps aboard this amphibious Land Rover of the sea

Product Overview

Overall rating:, manufacturer:, price as reviewed:.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and those who cannot see past the Ovni’s boxy hulk and quirky French design will probably be those who cannot appreciate the benefits of a shoal-draught cruiser which is the perfect expedition yacht. The Ovni is designed to explore remote inlets and bays, as well as take you across oceans, from the Artic to the tropics.

She has been called  the Land Rover of the seas with good reason. She’s a very capable, long-distance, liveaboard cruiser. Her aluminium hull (65% as strong as steel, but one-third as heavy) makes her robust, if not bullet-proof, and the ability to beach the boat is a bonus. The only concern is being careful of electrolysis and as one owner said ‘ensure you are not a giant anode!’

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ovni yachts review

Boat test: Ovni 370

Ovni was one of the original pioneers of the all-aluminium ‘go anywhere’ yacht. The new 370 goes right back to those roots, being a 37’ pocket blue water cruiser. Sam Jefferson takes her for a spin

This article is brought to you in association with Pantaenius Sail & Motor Yacht Insurance

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Notwithstanding this success, there is still the question of how to make building a sub 40 footer pay and Ovni has given a lot of thought to this. The basic problem is that you need much the same time and effort to produce a 40’ yacht as you do a 60’ one. Ok, slightly less materials but not enough to offset the price differential. Ovni’s design team of Mortain/Mavrikios and CBA design offices has put a great deal of thought into this and came up with a solution that works for aluminium boats. Generally yachts built in aluminium need longitudinal stringers in addition to latitudinal ribs and bulkheads to create rigidity, but slightly pre-curving the aluminium hull plates both longitudinally and latitudinally massively increases their rigidity. Marry this to thicker hull plates (10mm below the waterline and 8mm above) and it all means that in a 37’ boat there is no longer any need for longitudinal stringers. This saves both cost and labour time.

Ovni 370

Climbing aboard you immediately grab hold of solid guardrails which set the tone for a very substantial, rugged boat. Ovni has decades of experience building blue water cruisers of this type and they definitely know what they are about. The side decks are wide and there is an ample sprinkling of grab rails as you move forward. Lower shrouds set inboard mean there is a clear walkway forward and there is storage for fenders in the forward anchor locker. At the bow is a fixed aluminium sprit for reaching sails and also a twin anchor roller set-up.

The cockpit features twin helms and comfortable seating for six. The cockpit coamings are thoughtfully curved for perching outboard and pleasingly festooned with non-skid – not always the case. The stern is fairly open, although seats behind the twin helms, bridged by a flip-up bench in between, provide an element of security and also extra storage space. There is a small locker for the liferaft just where it should be at the transom and a modest bathing platform. As mentioned, the solid aluminium arch also provides twin davits for a tender and also a bit of a platform for solar panels plus the frame for a roll-away bimini. The sprayhood is in canvas and at present there is no option for a solid aluminium doghouse as seen on larger models due to weight concerns relating to the boat achieving the boat’s Category A rating.

The cockpit set up features four winches with two sets on the coachroof and two more within reach of the helmsman. The two closest to the helm are for the Code 0 or gennaker. The aim is that you can control everything from the shelter of the sprayhood if the going gets heavy. Meanwhile in more favourable conditions, the helmsman can play with the bigger headsails while steering. The only real peculiarity in all this was that you had to start the engine from the saloon which struck me as slightly odd. Otherwise the set-up was extremely well thought out and comfortable.

Ovni 370

The companionway was broad and heavily angled making for a very easy entrance into a space that was bathed in light thanks to the massive wraparound window, which features five opening portholes allowing for excellent ventilation. The early Ovni’s were famed for their rather stark and functional styling and while this remains to an extent, it has been softened to provide a space that is modern but also homely. The headlining is an interesting feature as it is a layer of painted cork which is both practical, sustainable and light. The light pine finish is also very pleasant and the ambience is relaxing. Ovni is providing two distinct options; one is more of a standard layout while the second is raised up in the classic ‘deck saloon’ manner. So far this layout has proven to be the winner, with all orders placed being for this option which certainly provides excellent levels of light and a good feeling of space.

Ovni 370

There is a double cabin in the aft port quarter which offers a good amount of space, while the starboard quarter is designated as a workshop. On this particular version, two bunks had also been installed which were reasonably comfortable. This area also provided excellent access to the rudder quadrants and mechanism – a very important feature in a blue water yacht. There was also access to the engine both from the rear and via the companionway steps. There is space here for a watermaker and generator if needs be. Just forward of this workshop is a very roomy heads area.

Ovni 370

The day of the test was heralded by very light winds which were to slowly fill in and peak at 12kn. There was a long, lazy rolling swell. Given this is a heavy boat that is designed to deal with whatever the weather gods throw at it, this was probably the most challenging of all conditions. It did make manoeuvring a piece of cake though. One thing about a twin rudder swing keel boat is that it can handle a bit like a shopping trolley if the breeze pipes up. The bow thruster has been a game changer in this respect, however and has taken the spice out of close quarters manoeuvring. Once out at sea we put up the main and the large gennaker and poked the bow into 6kn of true wind on a close reach. The boat sailed bolt upright in these conditions meaning that wetted surface area was kept low and we trickled along at a respectable 4-4.5kn. As the breeze grudgingly filled in, we heeled reasonably sharply and sat in that heavily defined chine as we continued to make impressive progress. I had eyed the rather stubby rudders doubtfully but they seemed well balanced and the helm was light and responsive for a heavy boat in light conditions.

Ovni 370

This article first appeared in the December 2021 issue of Sailing Today with Yachts & Yachting magazine.

Ovni 370


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  • By Alvah Simon
  • Updated: January 31, 2007

ovni yachts review

The utilitarian styling of the Ovni 395 may narrow its market appeal, but any pragmatic cruiser will gladly allow function to lead fashion out onto the high seas. Philippe Briand has drawn a no-nonsense, go-anywhere cruiser that will carry its crew safely, quickly, and in comfort through any ocean of the world. However, those more used to fiberglass hulls must be aware that aluminum boats require extra attention with regard to stray electrical current, wiring, sacrificial anodes, and paint systems.

The Ovni 395 isn’t limited to oceans alone. The hydraulic lifting keel and rudder (with a 1-foot-11-inch draft), protective propeller skeg, and flat grounding plate just cry out for picnic beaching and gunkholing away from crowds.

The French builder, Chantier Alubat, has fashioned a robust hull out of the highest-grade aluminum. The deck layout is semiflush and simple. All sailing functions lead to the ergonomic aft cockpit. The trademark radar/antenna arch doubles as davits. A 55-horsepower Volvo with a three-bladed Max-Prop powers the vessel smartly. Even with a low SA/D of 15.22, the Ovni, I found, was easily driven in light air. It should prove stiff in heavy air due to initial form stability and ample lead ballast encapsulated into the shoal hull. With a board-down draft of 6 feet 11 inches, the boat performed to windward in sprightly and efficient fashion.

The light interior’s fit and finish are of a high standard, and it’s offered in several configurations. The usually problematic centerboard trunk is cleverly used to create open and useful spaces. The boat we tested had been actively sailed for eight months before arriving in Annapolis, and it showed evidence of the wear and tear a sailboat will incur offshore. That said, it also demonstrated that the Ovni 395 can walk the walk when it comes to voyaging, which, coupled with its favorable price, should pique the interests of any serious cruiser. Vive la France!

Ovni 395 Specs

LOA: 41′ 11″ LWL: 33′ 10″ Beam: 13′ 5″ Draft (board down/up): 6′ 11″/1′ 11″ Sail Area: 687 sq. ft. Displacement: 19,360 lb. Water: 115 gal. Fuel: 67 gal. Engine: 55-hp. Volvo Designer: Philippe Briand Price: $275,000 Nickle Atlantic, (703) 924-105, www.boatinium.com

Alvah Simon reviews the Ovni 395 for the 2007 Cruising World Sailboat Show.

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Yachting Art Magazine

The Ovni 400, the new 40-foot bluewater yacht by Alubat

January 13 2021

Written by Yachting Art English Edition

The new Ovni 400, which replaces the Ovni 395, retains the fundamentals of the French shipyard located in Les Sables d'Olonne (Vendée) - an integral aluminum-hulled construction - with significant changes to the hull lines. Ideal for those who enjoy long distance voyages and circumnavigations...

The Ovni 400, the new 40-foot bluewater yacht by Alubat

The sixth Ovni 400 is already under construction, announces the Alubat shipyard, and two other units in signature.

This new model stands out from the other models in the range with its straight bow, a hull with two chines and a deckhouse surrounded by Plexiglas, for 360° visibility when sailing. 

The high freeboard and the clear side decks allow a great comfort while sailing. Performance and stability at sea are there, with a heavy lifting daggerboard (1.3 tons) and a horn mainsail. 

In terms of interior fittings, the Ovni 400 stands out for its great luminosity and storage volumes at least equivalent to those of a 45-footer. It is equipped with a bathroom with separate shower and a large owner's cabin; the saloon has been offset to port to facilitate forward movement. 

Technical specifications of the Ovni 400: Overall length: 12.90 m - Hull length: 12.28 m - Length at waterline: 11.54 m - Maximum beam (width): 4.35 m - Draft low drift: 2.88 m - Draft high drift: 0.98 m - Empty displacement: 11,200 kg - Weight of ballast : 2600 kg - Water tanks : 2 x 200 liters - Fuel tanks : 2 x 270 liters - Sail area (sloop) : Classic 85 m² / Horn 93 m² - Mainsail : Classic 44 m² / Horn 52 m² - Solent : 41 m² - Motorization : Sail Drive Volvo D2-50 (50 hp - 36,5 kW) - Price : 381 600 euros

Alubat - L'Ovni 400, le nouveau voilier de 40 pieds de grand voyage, en images - ActuNautique.com

Alubat - L'Ovni 400, le nouveau voilier de 40 pieds de grand voyage, en images - ActuNautique.com

Le nouvel Ovni 400, qui vient remplacer l'Ovni 395, conserve les fondamentaux de la marque sablaise (dériveur intégral à coque aluminium), avec d'importants changements au niveau des lignes de ...


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Ovni 370 : Resistant aluminium shell with a pretty core in the test

Michael Good

 ·  19.03.2024

A clear commitment: The construction is unconditionally designed to maximise volume. The bird's eye view emphasises the corpulent foredeck

New process, less effort

The measured values for testing the ovni 370, the ovni 370 in detail, equipment, price and shipyard, yacht review of the ovni 370, video of the ovni 370.

Turbulent times lie behind Alubat in France. On the one hand, the aluminium specialists in Les Sables-d'Olonne are building their first cruising catamaran. The Ovnicat 48 project was put on ice for some time due to a lack of buyers, but is now being realised. At the same time, the shipyard is expanding its upmarket semi-custom Cigale range. A particularly powerful 16-metre vessel is currently being built and a new Cigale 15 is due to go into series production soon.

On top of this, Alubat has also announced another change in management. Luc Jurien is the new man at the helm of the company, a man with a wealth of experience as a blue water sailor. The engineer and his family spent a total of six years sailing the world's oceans on an aluminium yacht from Alubat.

Deck saloon planned as a variant is now standard on the Ovni 370

Irrespective of this, the shipyard is continuing to work hard on expanding its core business, the cruise and blue water programme. With the Ovni 400 (test YACHT 3/2020), Alubat has thrown the brand's long-established design parameters overboard for the time being and surprisingly presented a radically different boat. The visually eye-catching and very polarising design from the collaboration with the designers from Mortain & Mavrikios was presented as a novelty at boot in Düsseldorf 2020 and is now coming to the market. as Ovni 430 in a revised version on the market.

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ovni yachts review

The Ovni 370 followed with a very similar visual appearance. 11.95 metres in length, its hull is only a good 30 centimetres shorter than that of its larger sister, but significantly less wide. The maximum extension is 3.99 metres, which corresponds to an average aspect ratio of 3.0 for cruising yachts.

Despite many visual similarities on the outside, there are major differences between the two latest Ovni models, particularly below deck. The 370 was launched as a true deck saloon yacht, i.e. with multiple stepped living levels and a raised seating area where you can enjoy an unobstructed view to the outside even when seated. On the Ovni 400, on the other hand, the layout remains conventional, with all functional areas on one level. This classic layout was also considered as an extension option for the 370 at the beginning of the project planning phase, but was rejected as an option by the shipyard. Of the first 20 orders received for the smaller ship, all buyers without exception opted for the deck saloon version. The classic layout had thus become obsolete.

New construction method for lower material costs

In general, aluminium constructions are mainly reserved for larger ship formats. For medium-sized yachts with a hull length of up to twelve metres, however, aluminium construction is rather rare because the design is complex in relation to the size of the ship and the prices are ultimately high compared to competitors made of GRP.

With a completely new construction method for the shipyard, Alubat can counteract this to a certain extent for the production of the 370. The boat is welded over an auxiliary frame, and the frames and stringers are only installed later. For the hulls of earlier models, Alubat welded a total of seven plates over the entire length of the hull. In the Ovni 430 and 370 models, the hull now consists of just five aluminium panels, each with two, but clearly pronounced kinks in the hull on each side. The look is correspondingly angular, which is visibly more radical on the newer and smaller ship than on its larger sister. Characteristic are the high, flat freeboards, which slope almost vertically from the bow to the stern and create a hard chine in the transition between the aluminium panels, especially at the rear of the hull.

Swivelling integral blade now made of aluminium

The Ovni 370 can make good use of the pronounced kink in the stern for additional buoyancy when heeling and thus more dimensional stability in the wind. This is because Alubat traditionally builds the boats in the Ovni series with a swivelling integral centreboard, which can be completely retracted into the hull when dry or parked ashore. On the older Ovni models, the variable fins are made of cast iron and represent a considerable amount of ballast. On the new generation vessels, however, the shipyard is installing a lighter aluminium daggerboard, which is easier and quicker to hoist using only sheet tension, but also offers hardly any righting moment. The shipyard has to compensate for this loss with a significant increase in internal ballast. Deep in the bilge are encapsulated lead blocks with a total weight of no less than 3.2 tonnes.

Nevertheless, the shipyard has to keep the centre of gravity of the Ovni 370 as low as possible so that the design can fulfil the classification in CE design category A (high seas). This is why, surprisingly, no permanently installed generator is offered for the designated blue water yacht, but alternative methods of energy generation via solar panels or hydrogen generators are used for long sea voyages.

Ovni 370 stands for safety on long passages

Also due to the tightly calculated centre of gravity, Alubat does not offer a furling mast as an option for the new model; the conventional, comparatively short aluminium rig with two spreaders remains. In addition to the standard wardrobe with conventional mainsail and short overlapping genoa made of Dacron, there is an optional performance upgrade made of dimensionally stable laminate as on the test boat, with a fully battened mainsail and sporty topsail. A self-tacking jib is not available as an option.

A boat like the Ovni 370 is not so much made for sailing from A to B as fast and racy as possible, but rather for mastering longer passages at sea and ensuring the necessary safety. The very high and wide coamings offer good protection in the cockpit and the massive cockpit table offers the best holding options. The large sprayhood shields the crew sitting at the front of the cabin bulkhead very well against wind and water. Although the sprayhood is only available as an option, it is a must for a blue water yacht.

The helmsman sits isolated and with little freedom of movement behind the steering columns, which are mounted far aft. However, because the sheets for the mainsail and genoa are operated at the front via the winches on the companionway, the helmsman has no direct access to them. This is a disadvantage for single-handed sailing. For long trips, where the autopilot steers most of the time, the compact operation of all sheets and halyards on the companionway is advantageous because the crew does not have to leave the protection of the large sprayhood to adjust the sails.

Ovni 370 with advantages and disadvantages

The YACHT test with the Ovni 370 in moderately strong winds without any significant swell confirms what the test with its bigger sister has already shown: Sailing upwind is not the speciality of the new designs by Mortain & Mavrikios for Alubat. In perfect sailing conditions around 15 knots of wind and despite the sail upgrade, the 370 only manages an average speed of 5.7 knots with a relatively wide tacking angle of 95 degrees.

The Frenchwoman is much more dynamic when the sheets are shifted and the yacht is allowed to run. The reactions of the full-bodied and comparatively heavy aluminium construction are surprisingly good. The manoeuvres are easy and controlled to sail through, and a well-dosed rudder pressure makes it easy for the helmsman to steer the boat optimally on the wind edge.

The concept of the 370 as a yacht with deck saloon, long pantry line at the side and elevated navigation does not allow for any significant variation in the interior layout. There is a double cabin both forward and aft on the port side. Due to the enormous hull volume, the forward berth is record-breakingly wide (more than 2.20 metres at shoulder height), but only a modest 1.85 metres long on the test ship. The shipyard still wants to improve this.

The toilet area is divided into two parts. A comparatively small wet room with washbasin and toilet is located at the back of the boat. In front of the main bulkhead, to the side in the passageway to the forward cabin, there is also a separate shower area. This compartment can also be used for other purposes if required, for example as a walk-in wardrobe or for installing a washing machine. The aft section on the starboard side is reserved for use as a large, internally accessible locker. If desired, this space can be converted into a workshop or two additional Pullman berths can be installed by the shipyard.

Internal values of the Ovni 370

The furniture for the interior fittings is manufactured in Alubat's own joinery workshop and makes a very solid and neat impression. Without the dependence on ready-made built-in modules from external suppliers, Alubat can work more flexibly and, to a certain extent, cater to individual customer wishes in the design.

Due to the many thermal bridges, insulation is also an important issue for aluminium boats. For the Ovni 370, Alubat is using sprayed-on cork for the first time as insulation and as panelling on the visible inside of the hull. The look and feel of the surfaces are reminiscent of the roughcast on the walls of a house - an exciting parallel. However, the material apparently also has a tendency to tear. On the new test ship, the insulation has already burst open in several places.

470,050 euros is the price of the Ovni 370 in the basic configuration including 19 per cent VAT, and the sails are already included in this price. However, the lack of direct competition makes it difficult to categorise the price.

If you are planning a longer trip at sea, want to play it safe and are looking for a boat in a handy, well-organised and affordable format, the Ovni 370 should also be on your shortlist. Sailors with a pronounced wanderlust will be happy with her - even if the long trips may take a little longer.

The aluminium panels for the fuselage are welded over a metal frame. The frames are added later

With the new model, Alubat has radically changed the construction method. In all older models, as well as the larger sister Ovni 400, a skeleton of frames and stringers is created in advance and then the preformed hull plates are welded to each other and to the existing structures. In the new ship, on the other hand, the hull is first assembled over a moulded shell framework; only then are the frames welded into the hull. For this technique, the plates of the hull are somewhat thicker and heavier, but significantly fewer frames and stringers are required than with the conventional construction method. And the shipyard can save time, about half of the previous production time for the hull.

Bild 1

Technical data of the Ovni 370

  • Designer: Mortain & Mavrikios
  • CE design category: A
  • Torso length: 11,95 m
  • Total length: 12,25 m
  • Waterline length: 11,40 m
  • Width: 3,99 m
  • Depth: 0,92-3,08 m
  • Mast height above WL: 16,74 m
  • Theor. torso speed: 8.2 kn
  • Weight: 9,4 t
  • Ballast/proportion: 3,2 t/35 %
  • Mainsail: 36,0 m2
  • Furling genoa (106 %): 33,0 m2
  • Machine (Nanni): 27 kW/38 hp
  • Fuel tank (plastic): 300 l
  • Fresh water tank (plastic): 300 l
  • Holding tank (plastic): 50 l
  • Batteries: 3 x 90 AH/AGM

Hull and deck construction

The hull and deck are made entirely of aluminium (AW 5083 H111). For the hull, five preformed plates (8/10 mm) are welded in the folding bulkhead over a slipway

  • Base price ex shipyard: 470,050 € gross incl. 19 % VAT.
  • Standard equipment included: Sail, engine, sheets, railing, navigation lights, battery, compass, cushions, galley/cooker, bilge pump, toilet, sailcloth, fire extinguisher, electric cooler, holding tank with suction. For an extra charge: anchor with chain, fenders/mooring lines, clear sailing handover (incl. antifouling paint)
  • General guarantee: 2 years
  • included in the price: Watertight companionway bulkhead, bathing platform with integrated bathing ladder, cork interior insulation, bowsprit with anchor holder, anti-slip deck covering, cockpit table with folding teak tops

Status 03/2024


B&G equipment package at extra cost: Triton 2 with wind, log, plumb bob, two displays, autopilot, chart plotter, radio, VHF with AIS reception

2 x Lewmar 46ST sheet winches, 2 x Lewmar 46ST halyard winches

Motor and gearbox

Standard: Nanni N4-38 with shaft drive and three-blade fixed pitch propeller. No option for performance upgrade

Rig and sail

Double aluminium rig (anodised) from manufacturer Z-Spars. The standard scope of delivery includes simple upwind sails (main and genoa) made of Dacron from Incidence

Alubat Chantier Naval, 85180 Les Sables-d'Olonne (France), www.alubat.com


AluYacht GmbH, 20149 Hamburg, www.aluyacht.de

Hard-wearing and dry-dock capable aluminium folding chandlery from France with a clear focus on the requirements of blue water sailors. The Ovni 370 is one of the smaller boats in this range and is attractively priced

Design and concept

  • + Extremely robust design
  • + Modern construction
  • + Easy to fall dry
  • - High centre of gravity

Sailing performance and trim

  • + Agile in the manoeuvres
  • + Good fittings on deck
  • - Rather sluggish at the cross
  • - Not suitable for one-handed use

Living and finishing quality

  • + Magnificent view from the lounge
  • + Large kitchen, lots of storage space
  • + Forward berth unusually wide
  • - Wet room rather small

Equipment and technology

  • + Well-tuned control system
  • + Large sprayhood, good protection
  • - Insulation not permanent
  • - No rolling mast as an option

The article first appeared in YACHT 06/2022 and has been updated for the online version.

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  • Flaar 24 on test: carbon fibre small cruiser enriches the small boat segment
  • RM 1380: Sporty tourer with a focus on blue water cruising
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Most read in category Yachts

ovni yachts review

Be Bold. Be Antifragile.

New inverted bow provides a longer waterline for improved performance and expanded interior volume

Alubat’s experience in building with centreboards combined with the Mortain/Mavrikios and CBA design offices reputation, bring together a fantastic model in terms of comfort and performance. The lifting keel sailboat integrates the design criteria of long range cruising (Category A certification).

NACA profile centerboard with manual lift. 

The lifting centerboard allows access to shallow, protected waters, and the ability to beach without sacrificing performance or safety.

The price represents an example of a fully equipped OVNI 370 with premium items for the long-distance sailor. Link for full equipment list

Interior Gallery

The raised salon aboard the OVNI 370 provides a panoramic view. Large windows surround the interior space and have 5 opening portlights to bring in lots of light and ventilation. Seating for 6 to 8 people around the table and plenty of storage under the bench seats, floors and galley for the liveaboard sailor.

A raised chart table is located on the port side and provides lots of visibility while keeping watch. Access to the electrical panel is also found here. 

The two cabin layout, one forward and one aft, offers plenty of storage with an option for a third cabin aft in the technical room. 

A bright forward cabin has a separate shower. A separate head with sink is located aft. 

exterior Gallery

Hull design.

The unique hull design of the OVNI range is suited for long-range sailing. The inverted bow gives a longer waterline length, improving performance and expanding the interior volume. 

Large, deep anchor lockers are divided fore and aft for properly storing chain and rhode. There is crash box beneath the floor, below the waterline. The bowsprit with a double roller also places the headsail forward for better performance. 

Flat decks are easy to maneuver. There are 6 cleats attached, and the stanchions and handholds are welded directly onto the toerail and deckhouse. 

The cockpit can be completely enclosed and the aluminum dodger ensures all-weather protection. The two helm stations provide easy access to the winches with optional electrical equipment, engine control and remote windlass control.

There is plenty of exterior storage in the cockpit and aft at the swim platform. The aluminum arch is ideal for installing optional solar and communication equipment as well as for stowing the dinghy.

Price & Equipment

Integral aluminum chine construction with a watertight bulkhead at the front and a crash box

Welded structural reinforcements

Welded and Bolted mooring cleats

Aluminum toe-rails

Welded seacocks

Marine-grade plywood and solid wood trim

Iroko hardwood for external trim

Stainless steel double lifelines on stainless steel stanchions with side opening gates

Storage for dinghy engine on the bathing platform

Aluminum chain-plates with stainless steel bushes

Complete painting process with primary epoxy

Non-skid paint on horizontal areas

1 fore cabin hatch

2 additional hatches on the coach roof with ventilation with blinds

4 fixed hull portholes

2 opening aft portholes on each side of the companionway

Panoramic Plexiglas coach roof with 7 portlights and curtain for privacy

2 blocks for mainsail sheet

All centralized maneuvers on either side of the companionway with  2  x  48 winches mounted on coachroof, one manual and one electric. 2 x 48 manual sheet winches in cockpit

2 Genoa sheet tracks with 1 piston adjustable traveller car

2 double pulleys with clamps, return sheet leads on winches

2 locking winch handles

2 sheaves boxes (x6) leading to halyards and reefs back to the cockpit

Cam clutches on the coach roof for halyards, reefs, downhaul

Aluminum grab rails welded on coach roof and 2 aluminum grab rails welded on transom

Bathing platform with stainless steel swim ladder and lockable liferaft storage

Water, fuel and black water deck fittings

Hot and cold water shower on bathing platform

4 harness clip-in attachment points (companionway, helm station and bathing platform)

Aluminum aft arch for accessories and mooring cleats for lifting dinghy

Block and fairleads with cam clutch for Genoa furler line feeders

Aluminum bow nose with two bow rollers

Self-draining chain locker, cable clinch and cleat

Vertical electric windlass 1200W chain grab Ø10mm

Anchorage Pack (fore & aft): Spade Anchor 20kg + 60m of  Ø 10mm chain grade 70 & 7,1kg Fortress Anchor + 40m of mixed rope/lead Ø18mm anchoring line

Windlass control at the helm station

2 bow and 2 stern mooring cleats 330mm, 2 midship spring cleats 330mm, additional 2 mooring cleats on foredeck 330mm

Mooring Pack: 6x fender with sock + 1x White Step-fender, 4x 10m Ø16mm mooring ropes + 2x 15m Ø16mm mooring ropes

Sails are all high tech Pro Radial woven polyester radial sails made by Incidence Sails in La Rochelle, France. Included are the following:

Square-top full batten mainsail 42 m2, 3 reefs including 2 automatic reefs, lazy bag and battens, Spectra halyard. Running backstays and blocks. Pro Radial cut grey sailcloth.

Furling Genoa (33 m2), UV stripe, bag. Pro Radial cut grey sailcloth.

Furling Code 0 with sheets, blocks, and Dynema halyard

Furling Staysail

1 mainsail halyard, 1 Genoa halyard, 1 boom topping lift, 2 Genoa sheets, 1 mainsail sheet. Additional halyard for Code 0/Spinnaker

Anodized aluminum deck stepped mast, double swept aft spreaders, 4 mast steps include 2 to reach mainsail and 2 mast steps at the head of the mast.

Mooring and masthead navigation lights, halogen deck floodlights and tri color mast head

Tri color and white LED mast head light

Girouette WINDEX at mast head

Anodized aluminum boom fitted with outhaul and 3 reef lines

Rigid boom vang with tackle

Mast step/pod with blocks

Stainless Steel standing fractional rigging: 1 forestay and 2 backstays, 2 upper shrouds, 2 inner shrouds, 2 aft shrouds

Large self-draining cockpit with direct access to bathing platform through aluminum tipping bench

Aluminum cockpit table with synthetic white tabletop

Synthetic teak on bathing platform

Synthetic teak on bench seats and and helm seat with upholstered seats and backrests in choice of color marine fabric

Welded instrument mount

800 twin steering wheels, compass at one helm station

Engine control on main starboard station

2 LED lights under dinghy davit aft arch

Storage and gas lockers on the rear skirt

Manual bilge pump

Smoked Plexiglas sliding companionway hatch

Smoked vertical sliding Plexiglas door

Dodger with vertical canvas enclosure with an open central part

Iroko hardwood frame

1 leather-wrapped s/s grab rail and 1 grab rail in wood bulkhead

Solid wood 3 non-slip companionway steps with additional LED lights

2 opening aft portlights on each side of the companionway

Engine access located under companionway steps via hydraulic cylinders

Chart table and seat with storage

Electric control panel with 12V, 1 x 220V and 1 USB outlets, leak meter, water and fuel guage

1 directional chart LED light in red and white

Starboard side L-shaped bench seat with bench seat opposite on centerboard casing. Storage under seating

Ash Wood Finish

Large fixed table with double berth conversion

Upholstered foam cushions, 12cm thick with backrests

12 volt 85L refrigerator, 1 drawer

5 fans 12 V

Handrails throughout

Vinyl lining on ceiling and wood lining on hull sides

Locked wood flooring

Opening portlight in the panoramic roof for ventilation. Panoramic roof comes with curtains for privacy

2 LED spotlights

Varnished aluminum mast support

Wet jacket cupboard

White worktop with fiddles.  Stainless steel sink with pressurized hot and cold water

Gimballed s/s two-burner stove with over with s/s protective rail. Shelf behind stove.

Storage cupboard under sink with shelves and bins.  Drawers under worktop. Tall cupboards with door and shelf

Opening porthole in the panoramic roof

2 LED lights in red/white

Central double berth

12cm thick upholstered mattress on slatted bed base

Storage lockers under berth

Wardrobe, cupboard and shelves for storage

Opening deck hatch for ventilation

2 fixed portholes with closures

1 overhead light, 2 adjustable LED reading lights with integrated USB outlets

Separate shower with hot and cold pressurized shower head located in master cabin

Washer/dryer DAEWOO mini 3 kg

Cabinet with countertop and cupboard

Electric sump pump

White countertop, 2 shelves and mirror mounted on bulkhead

Manual pump toilet with holding tank

Sink with hot and cold pressurized tap

Separate shower with hot and cold pressurized shower head

Opening portlight on panoramic roof for ventilation

1 LED overhead light

Double berth with 12 cm thick upholstered mattress on slatted bed base

Wardrobe and shelves for storage

Engine inspection hatch in cabin

Opening portlights on the panoramic roof for ventilation

Fixed portlight

Overhead light and 2 adjustable LED reading lights with integrated USB outlets

Located starboard of companionway

Option for either workshop or two bunk berths

Access technical room via hatch in the cockpit and Suspended storage in the aft cabin

LED reading light with USB outlet

Nanny N4-38 shaft drive, 40hp diesel engine in a soundproof, ventilated compartment

Dual fuel filters

MAX PROP Three blades feathering propeller

Rope cutter SPUR   for engine transmission Shaft drive

Tunnel bow thruster 80kg / 12V

Solar panels 600 W on aluminum support and MPPT regulator

Air conditioning reversible 16000 BTU/ 220V ( 2 Units )

Generator 4Kw Fisher Panda Néo 5000i

230V AC 50Hz Circuit includes Shore-power outlet, bi-polar leak detector and electric panel

3 AGM 130Ah batteries

Battery charger 25A and 120A load distributor

Converter 12-220v

Additional 12-220V and USB sockets

Water maker AQUABASE – 12 V – 65 l/h with automatic rinse

Maintenance Kit (anodes, led, fuses, hydro-lube rings etc)

20L water heater, 220V supply and via engine heat exchanger

Custom welded plastic water and fuel tanks

2 automatic electric bilge pumps with switch located at control panel

B&G Electronics Package Includes (example of installation): 

  • Triton Navigation Pack and 2 displays
  • Automatic Pilot on cylinder Lecomble and Schmitt with display
  • VHF AIS transmitter and receiver
  • Radar B&G HALO 20+ – 36NM range
  • ZEUS 3S 9″ touch screen at the chart table
  • Pilot remote control

Fusion bluetooth radio + 4 speakers

Lifting full body aluminum centreboard – NACA profile with manual lifting system

Twin helm stations in cockpit with twin self-aligning rudders

Commissioning includes: launching, masting & rigging adjustment, one day coaching & 5 days in the marina

Customized vinyl sticker with boat name + home port initials

The price  represents an example of  a fully equipped Ovni 370 with premium items for the long-distance sailor. 


  • Material : Aluminum 5083 H111 and 6060 T6 profiles
  • Hull Length : 11.95 m | 39.2 ft
  • Length at Waterline : 11.40 m | 37.4 ft
  • Maximum Beam : 3.99 m | 13.1 ft
  • Air Draft : 16.7 m | 55 ft
  • Draft with Centerboard Down : 3.08 m | 10.1 ft
  • Draft with Centerboard Up : 0.92 m | 3 ft
  • Light Displacement : 9,400 kg | 20,723 lb
  • Ballast Weight : 3,000 kg (6,613 lb) with a keel of 260 kg (551 lb)
  • Water Tanks : 300 l | 79 gal
  • Fuel Tank : 300 l | 79 gal
  • Black Water Tank : 50 l | 13 gal
  • Mainsail (classic / square top) : 36 m² (420 sq ft) / 42 m² (452 sq ft)
  • Solent : 33 m² (355 sq ft)
  • Engine : Nanni N4-38 27.6kW (40 hp) shaft drive
  • C.E. Certification : Class A

Ovni 370 interior plan with raised salon

virtual tour





@ 2024 Alubat America. All rights reserved.

Attainable Adventure Cruising

The Offshore Voyaging Reference Site

  • Colin And Louise’s OVNI 435, “Pèlerin”

ovni yachts review

Pèlerin , our boat and home, is an OVNI 435 cutter designed by Philippe Briand, built for us and launched in 2008. Here is a brief introduction to her, what has worked for us, and what we’d do differently if we were starting again.

The Designer

Philippe Briand has long been one of the foremost French designers, and a notable helmsman in his day, winning the half ton and one ton cups during the 1980’s. What was noticeable in those early days was that even his race boats were good looking, during an era that wasn’t noted for handsome lines. He then went on to design many well-known production yachts for the likes of Jeanneau and Beneteau, although today he is more involved in super yacht design. He designed many of the OVNI range, including the 495, which remains in production.

The Builders

In 1973, Alubat were amongst the first of the French builders to adopt aluminium as their build material. They have stuck to their formula of chunky, multi-chine designs with lifting keels ever since, and currently produce around fifty boats each year from their main base in Les Sables D’Olonne.


LOA 44’ (13.37m) LWL 34’11” (10.59m) Beam 13’11” (4.22m) Draft 2’4”-8’4” (0.74-2.54m) Displacement -dry (10.3T) Sail area (working) 1065sq ft (99sq m) Measured rig height (I) 52’6” (15.9m) Fore triangle base (J) 15’6” (1.69m)

Pelerin is an OVNI 435 designed by Philippe Briand, and built in Les Sables D'Olonne, France in 2007. She is all aluminium construction, and has a lifting keel and rudder to enable her to dry out upright.

Cruising history

After 16 years skippering yachts commercially (in my case), Louise and I had Pèlerin built to fulfil a long-term plan to go cruising. With that in mind, we had a great deal of input into planning her above and below decks, assisted by the experienced team at Alubat who gave us much good advice and converted our ideas into reality very well.

Having lived aboard for over two years, we are currently making our way South after spending the 2009 season in the West of Ireland and the Western Isles of Scotland.

For us, Pèlerin is a near ideal size. Not too big to handle, especially at close quarters, and just the right side of affordable in terms of gear and maintenance. She has true shoal draft with her hydraulically controlled lifting centreboard and rudder and ability to take the ground, which gives her amazing versatility and opens up many otherwise off-limits cruising grounds. Being easily driven she doesn’t have a huge rig and is simple to handle short-handed. Like many centreboarders, upwind is not her favourite point of sailing, but if sailed a little free she’ll get on with it. Downwind, with the plate raised she is fast and stable and is the most controllable boat we’ve ever sailed. With her ballast all mounted internally she has a very comfortable motion in most conditions, and is a relaxing boat to sail, capable of keeping up good average daily runs without putting big demands on her crew.

OVNIs are all aluminium, chosen not necessarily to make them light, but to make them robust. Aluminium construction is massively strong with its matrix of frames and stringers, and should deform on impact if necessary. It lends itself very well to custom fabrication and features at little extra cost, and we tried to make a virtue of that, welding everything possible on deck to avoid leaks and corrosion. In any case, Alubat have many years of experience building in the material, and have long ago learned how to avoid most of the pitfalls.

Most of the problems with aluminium and electrolysis can be traced to connection to shorepower, so we installed an isolation transformer soon after delivery. OVNI’s also have a leak meter which will detect any current bleed via the 12V system, which we check daily.

We had Pèlerin fully insulated at the build stage, hull and deck down to the waterline, which keeps her cosy and condensation free in winter and cool in the summer. It also cuts down on one of the less attractive aspects of aluminium construction which is noise inside – she is really quiet at sea.

Pèlerin is a true cutter with a high cut Yankee and staysail. The Yankee is mounted on a roller and the staysail is hoisted conventionally. She has a fully battened main running on a Harken track, which has single line reefing worked from the cockpit. Much effort (and expense) has gone into reducing friction in all areas of sail handling, which has really paid off, so that reefing is now straightforward and effective. All working sails are in laminated fabrics, and are wearing well.

We carry a hanked on storm jib, but not a trysail. Our mainsail has three reefs at larger than standard spacing, and so our third reef is effectively not much larger than a trysail. The staysail can also be reefed.

For light airs we have a lighweight No 1 genoa that sets on a stay just aft of the roller, which has really improved our upwind and close reaching ability below 8 knots of wind. We also have an asymmetric spinnaker mounted on a gennaker furler, which sets from a detachable bowsprit, which is versatile and easy to use.

We have one power driven winch to handle all halyards, which also double for hoisting the dinghy aboard, and lifting large heavy items from our forward store room and workshop.

Mechanical systems

Pèlerin is fitted with a Volvo D2 – 55D normally aspirated diesel engine currently driving the original three blade fixed prop via a Hurth gearbox. The engine is adequate for the size of boat, and we when we fit a Max-prop in the coming months we hope we’ll gain some extra grip astern, as well as better sailing performance. In calm conditions we motor at around 6.5 knots, using around 4l of fuel per hour. We carry 300l of fuel in two integral tanks.

In keeping with our policy of simplicity we have no diesel generator. We do, however, have 180W of fixed solar panels, which can be augmented by a further 85W of portable panel when at anchor. We also have a highly efficient (and now quiet!) Superwind wind generator. So far a combination of these units combined with relatively frugal daily demand has allowed us to avoid running our engine to charge the batteries. We carry a small petrol driven Honda generator for emergencies, but have so far only used it once to test it out.

We have no bow thruster, although there are times when we wish we did. OVNIs are not the easiest boats to handle in tight harbours, especially in cross winds.

We carry 600l of water, which is adequate, but we have our one concession to complexity in the form of a Spectra Ventura 150 watermaker, which is not too power hungry, and allows us to have showers whenever we like.

Our refrigerator is by Isotherm, and is well insulated, and so very efficient. We have a 5Kw blown air diesel heating system by Webasto, and so far it has worked very well.


On deck, we have a Simrad integrated system, including radar, plotter, wind, AI 50 AIS transceiver and a Simrad AP 28 hydraulic autopilot. We have an Echopilot FLS Gold III forward looking sonar, with a custom aluminium transducer housing. Down below we have a back-up Furuno GP 32 GPS linked to an ICOM M505 DSC VHF radio, and an Iridium phone for e-mail and long distance communication.

The autopilot is matched by a Windpilot Pacific vane gear, which is powerful, easy to use and seems to match the boat very well.

Some other things that make Pèlerin a great boat

  • She has a feeling of immense strength which leads us to have great confidence in her
  • She is not at all demanding to sail, and has a very comfortable motion
  • She is very light and airy down below
  • We had considerable input over the interior design, and so far we feel it has worked very well, both at sea and in harbour.

What we would change if we had a magic wand

  • A solid dodger/doghouse like on the Boreal 44 that we recently tested. We couldn’t have one at the build stage (although we asked), but plan to have one fabricated in due course, either in composites or alloy plate.
  • Fit a Max-prop. We didn’t, and we regret it.
  • NO PAINT! There is no question that the one real downside to aluminium construction is keeping paint on it. If it had to be painted, then just the coachroof and deck, but, please! Not the hull!
  • We would change the deck hatches- all of them – to Goiot or perhaps Gebo.
  • We have changed nearly all of the deck gear to Harken, and what a difference it has made. We’d change the rest if money were no option.
  • Install a day tank so that we could monitor fuel condition and consumption.
  • Better engine access – the engine is mounted very low in the hull to assist stability, and despite numerous detachable access hatches access is not good. This is especially true of the stern gland, which is a Volvo seal, and needs to be ‘burped’ every time the boat is dried out – a job best suited to a contortionist.

Do you have questions or comments about Pèlerin ? Leave a comment.

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More Articles From Ovni 435—The go anywhere Landrover of cruising boats:

  • Turning The Dream Into Reality
  • Choosing A Suitable Boat, New Versus Old
  • A Boat Built To Travel
  • Making The Most Of Aluminum
  • Self-Defence In Harbour
  • A Practical Interior At Sea Or In Harbour
  • Limits To Complexity
  • A Practical Cruising Rig
  • The "S" Word—Stability
  • Self-Sufficiency In Power
  • The “C” Word—Corrosion
  • Electrical Systems And Aluminum Boats
  • What Has Worked So Far—Domestically
  • What Has Worked So Far—On The Water
  • Keeping The Water Out—Details
  • Shoal Draft Voyaging
  • Achieving The Impossible

Victor Raymond

I was very interesting to read more about your Ovni today and especially about what you would change vs what you have installed.

Although my Jeanneau SO 45.2 is a GRP production boat we do share the same designer and a surprising number of similarities that Philippe Briand must have discovered worked well with either GRP or alloy boats.

I cannot agree more with your decision to upgrade to Harken equipment. I have yet to find anything of theirs I don’t like, although I do like Spinlock for jammers, but for winches, travelers, bat cars, etc they make beefy equipment that does the job. I have not seen or used their furlers (I have Profurl) so cannot comment. I would look at Antal and Facnors (especially for a furling gennaker or code 0.)

Another issue is engine access. I guess Phillipe never had to change the oil, replace the impeller or worse the stern gland on his designs. If he had perhaps he would have been more kind to us.

One point that few designers address is stainless on an alloy boat. Why not weld solid aluminum stanchions directly into the toe rail and while at it make them a comforting 1 meter height so they hold you onboard rather than help make sure you fall over board. Personally I would also make the life lines of spectra instead of stainless cable for numerous reasons too.

My final gripe for today involves mounting winches. My preference would be to always have them mounted on access plates (with enough room to get a wrench underneath) so that they can be easily removed for annual service. How many ball bearings have we all lost trying to service on deck? Down below in your nice workshop in your standup engine room is the ideal place for this type of work.

Please keep the details coming. Problems are the same, solutions are different.

PS I look forward to seeing what you come up with for your hard dodger.

John Harries

Who manufactured the hatches that you would replace? I have my suspicions.

Jim Patek

Hello Colin

First I would like to thank you for your ongoing review of your Ovni experience. I look to your postings for ideas that I might apply. I have always been quite reluctant to be critical and all things considered, the positives of the design and construction far outweigh the niggles. The robust construction, flexibility of the builder, attractive and sea kindly accomodation, the forgiving characteristics of a centerboard and rudder that will retract on impact along with access to shallow places, the easy to manage sail plan and the sailing performance, off the wind, have made our Ovni 435, Let’s Go!, an almost perfect voyaging platform. After seven years and 45000 miles, my only serious complaint is that I am looking at a major cosmetic repair job related to stainless stanchions, grab rails, etc on an aluminium deck. It could be argued that I should have done a better job of catching the problem as it emerged. In addition, the insulation around the fridge and freezer proved less than adequate for the tropics and condensation has stained the woodwork. I understand that this is common problem not unique to the Ovni. But this, too, is a rather minor issue, however annoying.

All in all, the Ovni 435 is a fantastic voyaging vessel, difficult to beat, especially for the price. Most important: bullet proof construction; retractable centerboard and rudder; seaworthy layout; easy to sail.

Thanks again for your reviews.

Jim Let’s Go! Scalloway, Shetland

Colin Speedie

It seems that Phillippe Briand follows the same routes with many of his designs! All designers should make their very best efforts to make access to all service points truly accessible. On a 45ft boat this shouldn’t be the issue it always seems to be – Boreal managed it fine. Re the stanchions, Boreal use alloy, and whilst it’s not so aesthetically pleasing, it’s simple and light. And I’d agree about Spectra for lifelines, and when ours are due for renewal, that’s the way we’ll go.

Access to the bolts for the winches is fine on the OVNI, and much of the deck gear is mounted on plinths – much better with aluminium.

John, the hatches are Lewmar, and the two forward ones are their Ocean models that we specified at build, and they’re OK. The others just don’t feel robust enough to me, and the small ones have the handles glued to the lens, and I’ve seen a few of these come off – and that’s them finished.

Jim, it’s great to hear from another 435 owner, especially someone who has really put some miles on her. It sounds to me like your experience and impressions mirror mine, and I’d agree with everything you say. On the later boats Alubat started fitting plastic inserts into all of the stubs for stanchions etc., and so far ours have been OK. As for grab handles etc., we had everything welded and we’re very glad we did. Our fridge has coped well with the heat down here, so far, but we’ll watch out for evidence of condensation. It would be good to hear any other comments you might like to share – glad you’ve found mine useful. Best wishes Colin

Thank you for your feedback Colin. I am happy to share my experiences with you.

Regarding the stanchions, a sleeve was inserted in each base but the stanchion was locked in place with an aluminum screw. Therefore the sleeve was neutralised. There are, however, many areas of bubbling paint or areas where paint has come off in small sheets where the beneficial effect of Duralac around ss fastenings was reduced with time. I have removed the fastenings and coated these with Tefgel to slow the process and buy some time.

The condensation related to the fridge and freezer first showed itself with water between the cabin sole and its aluminium framing underneath. This warped the sole before I could effectively seal the end grains of the panels. Only the two cabin sole panels below the step down just forward of the galley were affected. The staining of the wood below the fridge and freezer did not occur until nearly three years after purchase when the insulation must have become saturated. While I originally thought that this was a problem with my boat only, I subsequently learned that the problem is common. I am sure that by 2009, the builder will have modified the design, perhaps sealing the insulation in, and you will remain trouble free.

I have not found engine access to be a real problem (but I am not a big person). I replaced the Volvo dripless seal with PSS within a year of purchase and this has performed well. I have damaged the all rubber cutless bearing twice with line wraps and recommend that you carry a couple spares since they are not an off the shelf item in most places. The engine has, thankfully, performed reliably, after initial teething problems. Engine mount nuts loosen occasionally and I have to check them periodically. I had the Max-prop installed at purchase.

For power, I have two alternators on the Volvo, an Aerogen 6 wind generator (installed in New Zealand in 2004 once I realised my actual power demands), two 55 watt solar panels, a 3.8 kw Mastervolt 220V generator (also installed in New Zealand) and six AGM 120 AH batteries that have performed reliably since their purchase in Australia in 2006 ( I must have been charging them adequately in spite of my ignorance. I had been equalising them regularly). The generator, used relatively infrequently, has performed well. It is my second Aerogen, the first having taken off in Batsi, Andros in a huge gust of wind while at anchor, in 2008.

I had a Spectra Catalina installed in New Zealand in 2005 after ditching my Pur Surv 40 and it has been extremely reliable with the exception of a leak in the Clark pump, replaced by Spectra at no charge in 2010.

Electronics are primarily Raymarine with twin C-Map plotters/radar at helm and at the nav station and dated by now. I have relied on the Raymarine ST6001 with 400 series course computer combined with Lecombe and Schmidt hydraulic ram and pump, all original equipment and have no wind vane. So far so good. I carry lots of spares but have not had to use them. I baby my AP. I use an ACR AIS transponder with a Watchmate, low amp draw, display. A fantastic piece of kit manufactured in NZ.

Completely unrelated, I met the owner of the Boreal prototype, “Borealp” in Reykjavik a few weeks ago. His was a 50 footer. While he said he loved the boat and I could certainly understand why upon inspection, I thought the doghouse could have been extended further aft and some additional cockpit protection provided. It was a large cockpit, very exposed. I know this is radical, but I could not imagine having to go forward to reef since, as you know, we can do all our reefing quickly and safely from behind our dodgers and standing in the companionway.

Well, enough from me. But you did ask and I am camping out in Lerwick.

All the best, Jim

Jean-François Eeman

Hi Jim and Collin,

Good you met the guys from Boréalp in Reykjavik. They were clients, they became friends. The owner, Fred, is one of the rare guys I know who has sailed in 70’s to South Georgia on his own boat with wife and children. Excellent sailor! When he arrived in Iceland he phoned us to say he felt fine with the boat in 45 knots headwind.

Colin, for your information, the doghouse and the cockpit on the 50 are exactly the same as on the Boréal 44.

The Boréal was not designed to be a one-off. We made something which we thought would meet the expectations of “everybody” allowing to have two people on watch outside, protected by the doghouse. Boréalp has the standard doghouse. Up to now, we have never had the demand for an extended doghouse but we could tailor-make.


Thanks very much for taking the time to share all your experience with the boat and equipment. Great stuff that I’m sure our readers will find very useful.

Colin and John, I have Goiot hatches on my Jeanneau and they are surprisingly dry except of course in cold weather they will drip condensation but that is my “fault”. I don’t think any hatch manufacturer has thought of thermal breaks like commercial and residential glazing. As for the aesthetics of alloy stanchions, I like all the shiny stuff below but not on deck. In the same vein I would not have any wood on deck. I abhor aesthetic maintenance. Let the alloy stand up for itself. I say. Finally Boreal has not shown me how accessible their engine area is. I hope that includes tranny and stuffing box too. It would help change my mind about their otherwise refreshing design. Cheers Victor

Hi Victor I like the Goiot hatches because they are castings (at least the ones I looked at), and are therefore ‘stiff’ – the handles looked robust, too. And I’ve never seen any double glazed hatches, either – a pity. Totally agree re wood on deck, and apart from the floor and seating in the cockpit, we don’t have any. The engine access on the Boreal was very good – the whole engine cover lifts up and is supported by a strut when raised. You can then climb in from the starboard side and get to everything – a well thought out approach, I felt. Best wishes, Colin

Hi Colin and Victor,

I had a dreadful time keeping Lewmar opening ports water tight in my old boat, which was why I asked the original question. At that time (30 years ago) the Lewmar hatches were just about OK, but, as Colin says, flexible and given to leaking.

I have always found it much easier to prevent deck leaks on this aluminum boat, in the few places that we have caulked joints like the hatches, than I did on the old fiberglass boat. I think the difference is that there is just less flexing stressing the joints.

And yes, the world really needs a good quality double glazed hatch but, like you, I have never seen one. After all, it does not need to be very cold before water starts to pour off a single glazed hatch. Even 20c will do it if it’s damp.

We have the condensation on the ports problem cracked and are thinking about a similar solution for the hatches.

Hi Victor and Colin,

Access to the engine: You can access the engine in two ways : 1) Frontal by lifting the staircase and you have direct access to the front, and the starboard, and the rear of it. There is enough room not to stand but to crawl around it. 2) In the port cabin you have a second access… There is enough room to store extra batteries AND a group and a watermaker (depending on model) as you have pretty much height… You don’t have a real engine room in which you can stand but compared to (a lot of) other boats, I think there is pretty much room and an easy access. Please Colin, do not hesitate to disagree on this if you feel like…

Jean-Francois, Thank you for explaining the engine access of the Boreal. I don’t mind crawling as long as I am not likely to get stuck half in or out. 🙂 I would love to see some photos some time. Maybe better would be to visit in person……

Colin, John, Since my Jeanneau came with Goiot I never really paid any attention to other manufacturers but apparently I should. Yes, the frames are cast which leaves a sort of speckle finish which is pleasant. The one complaint I have with the Goiot is that the dogs from one size hatch to another do not work or unlatch the same way, i.e. left or right, all to center or whatever. Over living areas Jeanneau has provided hatches that you could escape from. However, in an emergency situation it would be nice to have only one solution to remember to open any hatch.

I would be curious to know whose hatches Boreal uses since they are double glazed. Jean-Francois…..?

Jim Thank you for the explanation re: stanchion to base corrosion. Colin, this is case in point why I would prefer welded alloy stanchions…less ongoing maintenance and/or replacement.

Victor and Jean-François have both mentioned photographs in the last few days, as did another reader in a direct email to us.

It seems to me that it would be really good if we at AAC could provide some easy way for ourselves and readers to post photographs, perhaps to Flicker, and then link to those pictures in the comments. I will look into it.

Great stuff, and thanks for enlarging your thoughts. A couple of things – I’m planning to do the same with the Volvo seal – the PSS is a much better (and longer lived set-up), and I’m planning to have some custom cutless bearings made up with machined down phenolic resin casings – much better, and we did this before with our last boat – if you’re interested just let me know. And the stanchions are now secured with stainless machine screws through nylon inserts – so far, so good, although keeping the paint on the outer casings is still a problem….

Victor, I like the Goiot hatches, too, and despite the niggles with handles, they are stiffer and stronger than any others I have looked at – in fairness, until I reviewed the Boreal I hadn’t realised just how good they were. And unless you’re a man mountain, you’d definitely be able to get into the engine compartment on the Boreal! This is partly possible because the beam is drawn well aft on the Boreal, and thus has allowed more space between the cabins, and wisely they’ve used this to improve engine access – once again, the reality of a boat designed by sailors.

Jean- Francois, I wouldn’t disagree – as I’ve outlined above. Some images, as John suggests, would be good to show what can be done when the needs of the long term cruiser are put first.

Best wishes to you all, and thanks so much for the lively and interesting thought train this has opened up. Colin


Colin (and others with comments on this),

Would you mind discussing a bit more about the interior layout you chose and what you would change (or not)? You have made passing comments in your articles (which were very beneficial to me) but some more detail about the configuration(s) would be great (e.g. cabin spaces, work areas…on passages and at anchor). I am especially interested in ideas of workshop space and how it has worked out.

For context, I am planning on building an Aluminum boat for cruising with similar purposes as you (and John/Phyllis) have described in articles.

Cheers, Robert

Hi Robert Our interior differs quite considerably from the standard boat – Alubat were very helpful with this, and as our boat was no 104, there were already many configurations available in their design portfolio, that we could call upon. To detail it all here might take up too much space, and not show the changes to full effect, so what I’ll do over the next week or so is to draft a new post with accompanying slide show, and discuss what has worked, and what we’d change. I realise that I didn’t include enough in my first piece on interior, and maybe I should put that right. For what it’s worth, this was an area were we put a tremendous amount of thought in – and we’re very glad we did. Not that all of our choices will suit all prospective owners or builders, but I’ll offer them on the basis that they can be useful for discussion – or dissent! I hope that suits you. Best wishes Colin

Colin….that would be fantastic. This is the area I am most concerned about screwing up. I agree that the interior design requires a tremendous amount of thought and is quite subjective and personal. My wife and I keep notes on what we like and dislike, but we don’t have yours or John’s experience in off-shore high latitude sailing. We have tended to be coastal cruisers so I’m sure there are lots of “obvious” features that I have/will miss in the design phase. Your comments and opinions are very valuable to us. Thanks!

Bryce Winter

Great article, thanks! Your boat sounds like a real beauty.

Not having sailed in alloy boats before, I do have a couple of questions: I’m interested to know if you still get noise in the cabin from the uninsulated area of the hull below the water-line? Also, do you have to be careful with different grades of alloy when you weld on attachments to the hull, or does any alloy labelled as “marine” grade work?

John Tynan

I note your comment that you would have appreciated having a solid wheel shelter but that it was not a possibility as original equipment.

I asked the same question at their stand at the Salon Nautique (Paris) and they told me the contrary.

FWIW “Pelage Service” do custom solid dodgers http://www.pelageservice.com (I have no connection, I’ve just seen their ad in a French magazine.)

I think it’s a case of ‘that was then, but this is now’. Our 435 is no longer built, having been replaced by the 445, and it may be the case that they are prepared to fabricate a hard dodger for the new model. The refusal on ours was cited due to the need to re-submit stability calculations in order to maintain the EU Certification.

And, yes, I am aware of Pelage, and have seen one or two of their composite solid dodgers on French yachts I’ve seen, and they looked pretty good. But I’d still rather have a solid alloy one, with a watertight door!

Best wishes

The Boréal 44 is a lovely boat and is definitely on the wish-list.

However steering in the pilot station is by automatic pilot. When conditions are at their very worst you need to hand-steer as pilots no longer cope. In which case, you are back outside when you most want and need protection.

For that reason principally I like open dog-houses such as on the Salar 40. The better ventilation probably lessens the risk of sea-sickness too. http://www.google.fr/imgres?imgurl=http://www.pixstel.com/salar-40-tehari-ii-_picm91-9179.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.pixstel.com/salar-40-tehari-ii-_urlb9179.php&h=600&w=900&sz=157&tbnid=DjRnS1jJAbQxAM:&tbnh=90&tbnw=135&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dsalar%2B40%26tbm%3Disch%26tbo%3Du&zoom=1&q=salar+40&usg=__isfTIdMpHihFw2RCaWiLKyE415s=&docid=lV0-epESIEAbdM&hl=fr&sa=X&ei=OFmBUaxZiY21BsaZgaAI&sqi=2&ved=0CDgQ9QEwAQ&dur=40


Drawbacks of a large doghouse are as you indicated with respect to the OVNI’s: weight aloft and aesthetics – unless the boat is very big.

Maurice Griffiths, in designing the 27’ Kylix as his retirement boat, wanted a cuddy to shelter under while he was sitting and of a height where he could look over when standing. His was a pretty boat. When sitting he has a view forward which is not always the case when there is an overhang of the cockpit.

A really good example of water-tight doors to a deck saloon, is on Philippe Poupon’s boat, Fleur Australe (20m) which is now up for sale. Designed by Michel Joubert it’s built in Strongall by Meta.

Great site this; tons of useful inforamtion.

Best wishes,

I have to disagree with your statement “When conditions are at their very worst you need to hand-steer as pilots no longer cope.”

First off, a good autopilot can easily steer a well mannered boat like the Boreals up to and probably a bit above gale force. Our Autopilot on “Morgan’s Cloud” is quite happy in these conditions, even though it is quite old and not the sharpest knife in the draw and MC is almost certainly harder to steer than the Boreal.

Further, in my opinion, when conditions are at the very worst is exactly the time when you don’t want to be steering. I’m a pretty experienced helms person, but I can’t steer for more than about two hours in challenging conditions without getting very tired with the associated risk of making a bad mistake. So unless you have at least four, and preferably six, helms people of my skill level or better aboard, the idea of steering through really heavy weather, is, in my experience, flawed.

Rather you need to be able to go passive and in this case the Boreal ‘s small pilot house will be a great place to stand watch out of the cold and wind, which will, in turn, preserve the crew’s energy.

I can tell you that after standing watch in the open for 40 years, I covet the Boreal wheelhouse like you would not believe!

Marc Dacey

Colin, I saw by chance your comment about “watertight doors”. I own a steel cutter with a totally inadequate, if typical, Lexan dropboard. Like you, I want something sturdy enough to take a pooping sea or at least to defer its entry into the pilothouse.

I discuss my thoughts here: http://alchemy2009.blogspot.ca/2013/02/hatch-snatch.html

If you’ve had any thought on how I should proceed, or if you wish to utilize any of my own ideas, I’d be pleased to discuss it here or offline. I feel that decent companionway doors are hard to find without getting into the “submarine” type, and would welcome your real-life thoughts on this important topic.

colin Speedie

I had a look at your weblink, and think that you’ve come up with a good, strong, viable option. There’s quite a bit of engineering involved, but nothing that a good fabricator should struggle with.

Companionways fall in to two categories, I think – the standard drop in type (as you and I currently have) and the more robust hatch or watertight door type. The first has known weaknesses, as was discovered in the ’79 Fastnet Race, for example, but these can be largely mitigated against with good strongbacks and mechanisms to stop them falling out in the event of a bad knockdown. But it takes something really robust to resist a breaking wave coming aboard, and that’s certainly where your design looks good.

Best of all (in my view) is a solid watertight door, in a doghouse, a la Boreal, perhaps with the inclusion of a deck hatch in the upper part to allow ventilation and communication in less than the severest conditions. But – you have to work with what you’ve got, don’t you?

Like the sliding hatch arrangement on your boat, too!


Ciao, i was very happy with the companionway solution designed by Garcia.it was vey practical and safe.Also the new Pogo are using the same design. i linked a pic to better express my point http://aluaka54.blogspot.it/search?updated-max=2011-12-15T05:45:00-08:00&max-results=7&start=13&by-date=false

Giancarlo, that is very clean, but would take up too much room inside my pilothouse. Thank you for the pictures of your beautiful boat.

Colin, thanks for having a look…and quickly, too! It’s meaningful to me as a sailor with limited saltwater experience (not to mention limited fabrication skills!) to receive this sort of constructive feedback from an experienced mariner such as yourself.

As you noted, ventilation in wet, but not “hove to” conditions, is important. That’s why the top half of my “Dutch door” is fold-down,*not* hinged, as is the case with S/V Hawk, which also sports the sort of hard dodger I expect you would enjoy on Pelerin.

If that flap is open and the hatch is closed, air and words may pass easily. If it’s pouring rain and blowing wind, I have rooftop and side portlights to provide circulation in all but the foulest weather.

Now all I have to find is a decent fabricator in aluminum who understands how to make a complex little door that isn’t much bigger than a bar fridge door, but which must be closely fitted and strong as the sea. Good luck if you wish to do the same.


I would be happy to build this for you!

Well, I was skeptical at first, Brian, but then I looked at your site. Because we have a custom boat (you will recognize this from my blog), I would think a hands-on, “fitted on site” approach would be necessary.

Then I noticed you’re in Dartmouth, N.S.

Now we’re talking. We have plans to do our first season going from Toronto to N.S. as a shakedown cruise and then to over-winter in N.S. before doing a trans-Atlantic the next spring (I want to take the RYA course available in N.S.) I was looking at hauling out in Mahone Bay, but if this job hasn’t been done before we leave Toronto, I may very well come to you.

If you email me with a rough estimate, I will file that for future reference. I note you also do hull painting: I was thinking of shelling out for getting the bottom blasted back to bare metal, and going for plenty of barrier coat and a hard anti-foul good for a couple of years. Maybe even Ameron, Endura or Imron on the topsides…it’s not really an Awlgrip sort of vessel.

So thanks for letting me know of your shop. Your build floor looks strangely familiar.

Simon B

I have fitted a max prop to my OVNI 435 – really great – top motoring speed up – revs when cruising down speed when sailing up – all good. SB

Thanks for the real world experience, we always appreciate getting that here at AAC.

Re max prop. If fitting one make sure that you have the ‘angle of attack’ (or bite ) set just right. Look at the engine spec sheet to see max revs then look for min revs constant at full throttle and set the prop up to be about half way between the two. i.e max revs for a volvo 50 may be 3600 and min full throttle revs at 3200. Set the prop so that the max revs with the prop on in calm water come out at about 3400/3500. I found I was well under propped and my max speed jumped by about 1.5knts and so cruising revs for a giving log speed were lower. Hope this helps anyone thinking of fitting one.SB

Hi Simon B,

Good point. We have a post on that here.

George Woodward

Hello Colin “custom cutless bearings made up with machined down phenolic resin casings” How did you get on with this? I need to be planning a replacement on my Ovni and I would be interested to hear of your experience. Thank you Regards George

Hello Colin “custom cutless bearings made up with machined down phenolic resin casings” How did you get on with this? I need to be planning a replacement on my Ovni and I would be interested to hear of your experience. Thank you Regards George

Hi George I apologise for the long delay in replying to your query, which somehow passed me by when it came in. The answer is that I haven’t taken this any further (yet). Partly this is because I’ve only replaced the cut less bearing once (we don’t motor a huge amount) and also because it has been suggested to me that the tube might be rather ‘rough’ internally, which might make for the perfect setting for an old cased bearing to get stuck in place! And we had enough trouble getting the old neoprene bearing out in the first place. As we were in a hurry to change the bearing we just went with another the same, and, as I say it’s now done many thousands of miles and is still in good nick. Best wishes Colin


Hi Colin , A question related to insulation , or lack thereof , with some of the Ovnis , if I may ? I am in discussions for a 455 and am concerned about apparent lack of insulation . She has sailed mainly in tropical waters but I would want to keep her in Southern BC and cruise mainly in the PNW . Have you had any feedback from Ovni owners that might help me to decide whether to continue , or abandon this particular prospect . Most of my other boxes would be ticked . Not keen to consider tearing out panelling to retrofit . Your thoughts would be very welcome . Thanks, Dave

Hi Dave plenty of Ovni’s were built without insulation (it was an extra, not standard), but I’d have to say I’ve never understood why. Here are three good reasons why insulation is not just a good idea: In cold weather it keeps the boat much warmer internally and cuts condensation down dramatically. In hot weather it keeps the boat cooler internally. It significantly reduces internal noise levels when at sea or at rest. For all of those reasons I’d want my aluminium boat to be insulated. It would indeed be a major undertaking to remove much of the interior and install insulation – although the insulation Ovni used is easy enough to fit once you can get at the hull and deck, as it is 5 cm flat sheet building insulation that can easily be cut to shape and tack glued and secured in place. In the tropics the lack of insulation would be less of a problem, but in the PNW I think you might find it a far less attractive option. Best wishes Colin

Hi Colin , Thank you for your very prompt and comprehensive response . You confirm almost all my thinking about uninsulated metal hulls . I have owned steel vessels in the past but sailed only in the tropical regions , where the lack of insulation was not so keenly felt . Your personal experiences with your own Ovni , plus other info gleaned from the web , encourages me to continue my search for the “next” (insulated )boat for this area and to ,sadly , sidestep the current prospect . Best regards, Dave

Hi Dave Well, sorry to have been the bearer of bad news, but I’d do the same thing. In fact I looked at several steel and aluminium boats before we decided to go for a new build, and I’d have to say lack of insulation was a real deal killer, especially as we planned to go to high latitudes. The real bonus is that the boat is so quiet down below, which provides real relief in bad weather – once you go below in a blow it sounds like two wind strengths less! Best of luck with the hunt for the right boat. Colin

Life on my steel boat would be impossible without sheet insulation down to the waterline. It’s covered with screwed-down melamine sheets and cherrywood battens. With this insulation currently out in the pilothouse roof for service to the electrical runs, I had to cable-tie a white tarp to the top of the roof just to mitigate the summer heat.

It’s crazy to conceive of an uninsulated metal boat, not only due to noise and temperature shifts, but because of condensation mitigation.

Hi Colin and Marc , I appreciate the input and comments . It came as something of a surprise that Alubat do not insulate all their hulls as standard . We did a circumnav on an uninsulated steel boat , in the ’80’s but stuck to the tropics and had very good ventilation , so did not experience too much discomfort . There was some condensation in cold water in Cape Town and again in the Galapagos but the ambient temp meant hatches could remain wide open , with a constant warm breeze through the boat . Not an option one can contemplate in the damp PNW ! Thick fog and raining , as I type ! The ” new boat” search continues . Regards, Dave

just a thought, but have you had a look at the Ovni 435 that’s advertised here on AAC? It’s a good, well maintained and equipped boat – and it’s insulated! Might be worth a look. Kind regards Colin

Thanks for the suggestion Colin . Sadly , the price translates to a scary number of battered Canadian dollars ! Best, Dave

Anne et Benoit Brandicourt

Hello Colin, How are you ? Benoit is going to contact darglow for a propeller Featherstream Nous serions ravis d’avoirs de vos nouvelles. Best regards Benoit et Anne Moody 35 Baltian David’s Harbour Grenada

Hi Benoit et Anne

On a parti de Grenada seulement hier, pour Carriacou. On est a l’ancre en Tyrrel bay aujourd’hui, et faire noter depart pour Union Island mercredi.

J’espere que nous rencontrons cet année dans des iles, et vous pouvez me contacter par ce site.

Bon vents et bonne route

Mike hiscock

We are potentially in the market for a used Ovni 435 or 445. In your opinion, are the improvements in the 445 worth the typical cost differential?

We will normally be two handing with a mix of Nfld to the Abacos.

Thank you Mh

Robert J

My wife and I have been looking for a boat to realise our dream. We have poured over literature for Boreal, Garcia, Alubat, and even Ed Joy’s Good Hope 56. I have been reading as much as I can about aluminum sailboats from this website, which is a treasure trove of information. In the end, I feel that Alubat is the right choice for the money. I have been mulling over both the Ovni 435 and the Ovni 455. I would love the 455, but the twin rudders gives me pause. I wish there was a way to retrofit the single kick up rudder from the 435. My question is what are your feelings on refitting a 435 and adding an aluminum dodger. I have significant experience with aluminum welding and have no fear of tackling the project. Thanks

It’s unlikely Colin will answer. See https://www.morganscloud.com/2013/11/10/aac-comment-guide-lines/ (#3).

That said, twin rudders would make the 455 a non-starter for me too.

As to refitting a 435, I guess if it were me, and there was any way to stretch to a Boreal, that’s the way I would go.

Welding on an existing boat becomes a very big job very quickly: removing cabinetry, dealing with insulation issues, clean up, and on it goes. (This is the voice of experience talking.)

If you do decide to take this further I would highly recommend engaging Colin to advise: https://www.morganscloud.com/services/consulting/

Larry DB

Hi Colin / All,

A few questions re the Ovni:

1) Anywhere I look on the internet I find that Ovni’s supposedly are such safe and solid boats due to the aluminium construction. I cannot find anything about the aluminium plate thickness however (deck, hull above waterline, hull below waterline, keel) and the internal skeleton. A Boreal supposedly is reinforced at and below waterline to be able to cope with ice. How safe is an Ovni for trips to the Antarctic (I realise there is the odd example of Ovni’s having been there – but how happy are they really in such environment)? And what about the type of aluminium used?

2) Plenty has also been written about Ovni’s AVS. Supposedly it’s fine. But it just doesn’t make sense in my head (unless assisted by waves). Yes, a lot depends on how capable its captain is – but knockdowns and capsizes simply do happen. The same applies to Boreal and similar shallow draft boats.

3) Hatches and windows: more generally applicable to yachts filled with daylight. How safe are all of these windows and their surrounding (aluminium) construction really? What happens if a 15 meter wave dumps on top?

Cheers, Larry (aspiring (ant)arctic sailor)

It’s unlikely that colin will answer, see: https://www.morganscloud.com/2013/11/10/aac-comment-guide-lines/ (#5)

That said, he does provide consulting services if you get really interested in an Ovni, or most any other boats: https://www.morganscloud.com/services/consulting/

Alubat » La gamme » OVNI 430

ovni yachts review

The full experience

With our experience and expertise in blue water sailing yachts, we have collaborated with the MORTAIN & MAVRIKIOS and CBA agencies to upgrade the OVNI 400 to the OVNI 430.

The OVNI 430 is part of our new generation of boats combining innovation, elegance, ergonomics, comfort and performance.

ovni yachts review

Performance : The hull of the OVNI 430 with her inverted and rounded bow gives her full length at the waterline. And equipped with an optional square-top mainsail, we appreciate her stiffness. Thanks to her centerboard which comes up completely in the hull with a manual system, the draft is low and allows you to access to shallow areas or to land on a beach easily.

Outside comfort : With an open cockpit on a large transom equipped with a aft arch, her double helm-station and wide, very accessible gangways allow you to move easily. Wether you are at the helm-station or under the optional dog-house, you will always have good visibility and optimal sensations.

Inside comfort : A panoramic view for an active watchkeeping, great light, an offset saloon on the port side to facilitate forward circulation, a large galley on starboard side, a generous head with separate shower, a large owner’s cabin, all made in a modern design.

Be actor of your visit!


  • Architects : MORTAIN & MAVRIKIOS – CBA
  • Twin rudders : yes
  • Aluminium rudders : yes
  • Length overall : 12.95 m
  • Hull length : 12.30 m
  • Length at the waterline : 11.60 m
  • Maximum beam : 4.36 m
  • Draught with centreboard down : 3.45 m
  • Draught with centreboard up : 0.98 m
  • Light displacement : 11,900 kg
  • Ballast : 3,330 kg
  • Keel weight : 700 kg
  • Water tank capacity : 450 l
  • Fuel tank capacity : 580 l
  • Upwind sail area (sloop) : Traditional 85 m² / Square top 93 m²
  • Mainsail : Traditional 44 m² / Square top 52 m²
  • Solent : 41 m2
  • Engines : VOLVO D2-50 shaft drive (50 hp – 36.5 kW)

OVNI 430 technical description

YACHTING WORLD – OVNI 430 hybrid sailtest

Are you interested in this model ?

ovni yachts review

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Questions about stability and heavy weather sailing

How stable is the boat bearing in mind that it has a centreboard, what is the movement like with no ballast in the keel, is it not somewhat rolly, have you got a device to tell where the centreboard is or do you guess from the number of strokes on the pump, what about the ovni’s sea-keeping abilities, her comfort levels at sea and her ability to deal with an ugly sea, lack of ultimate stability.

  • Purely out of interest, do you carry either/both a drogue and parachute?
  • Questions about heavy weather sailing

What would happen if the boat capsizes?

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The question of stability generally (not just for the OVNIs) is a tricky one, and I must admit that I am not an expert on the theoretical aspects of it. Looking at it purely subjectively – and having sailed some 30,000 miles on the OVNI43, including crossing Drake Passage twice (once in winds over 50 knots) as well as being battered in Le Maire Strait.

I can say the following: apart from the inherent stability factor itself, a lot depends on: 1. Sea and wind conditions 2. How the crew handles/steers the boat 3. Luck (good or bad!)

I believe that if you encounter the wrong conditions at the wrong place at the wrong time… you will probably capsize the QE2.! My feeling is that with 3.5 tons of ballast, the 43 is quite a stable boat. So if the boat is sailed properly, reefed early, etc you have absolutely no reason to be concerned. As far as I know, of some 600 OVNIs built in the last dozen years (between 30 and 45 feet LOA) none has capsized or got into any serious trouble because of its design.

Back to Stability & Heavy Weather

…The yard won’t let me look at their stability curves, which worries me (and I have heard that the 385 has an AVS of only 100 degrees!).

The OVNI is much more stable than you would expect, and it is not at all rolly. As to the yard not letting you see the stability curves… I would guess they didn’t do it, simply because they may not have that kind of detailed information! This business of stability in cruising yachts is, honestly, most of the time a red herring. None of the production cruising yachts that I know of have been properly tested in a tank, so that mythical “stability factor” depends primarily on calculations, which, at best, present only one side of the argument. As I stated above, the stability of a yacht depends as much on its inherent stability as on a host of external factors: wind, sea state, etc., etc. There are certain situations when even the most stable yacht will simply flip over… I took my own OVNI43 to the Antarctic, crossed the Drake Passage in 50 knots+, while last summer I sailed on an OVNI 39 to 80°N… and slept very well on both occasions!

I rarely use the board in an intermediate position (it doesn’t seem to make much difference), so it is either fully down or up.

…I don’t imagine she will be as forgiving and comfortable as our Nic32, but how much worse I wonder? If you had the freedom to choose another boat, would you still take your OVNI down South again? What were her shortfalls at sea? and what did she do better?

Yes, I did take my OVNI 43 to Antarctica and also sailed on a friend’s OVNI 39 to Spitsbergen. I have confidence in the OVNI design BUT when it comes to stability…. it is not just the stability of the boat that counts if it may come to extreme weather and the possibility of capsizing, but also the experience of the crew and skipper. So while I was quite happy to take my own OVNI into the Southern Ocean (and had an experienced crew) I would be reluctant to recommend to anyone to take a light displacement centreboarder into that area. The OVNI is OK for ANY job, but a lot depends on who is in charge!

I just completed a circumnavigation on my OVNI 43 and I can assure you that the boat is as comfortable as a heavier boat. Your concern, about how an OVNI handles in heavy weather is understandable. I have been in winds 60+ knots (briefly) and sustained 40 knot winds, without any problem, but I continued sailing – because this is what you do in a light or medium/light displacement boat. Also, I hove to in 35 knots and while she made more leeway than a keeled boat, she behaved reasonably well and was very stable.

If you only plan to go around Cape Horn, I feel a 385 would be fine…if you plan to sail all the way to New Zealand in the 40s and 50s, then I go back to the beginning of this message: it’s not up to the boat, it’s up to you! I know what I can do, and I would take my boat along that route.

…People are concerned about lack of ultimate stability, which has to be the case with a light centreboard. The yard quoted me an AVS of 115deg for the Ovni 435 (probably bottom end of acceptability). They don’t admit to having the curve, and referred me to the designer (I couldn’t be bothered, as I should not have chosen such a design if I wanted a 140+deg AVS). My main concern was a basically strong boat capable of withstanding being beaten up by three small boys, and possibly the odd floating nasty.

I am not prepared to go into long discussions about stability – I am not a naval architect and do not know enough about this subject to be able to make an informed comment. Generally OVNIs have a good record (I don’t know of any that have capsized), and as I said in reply to a similar question, I took my boat to the Antarctic and back and wasn’t too worried…so draw your own conclusions.

Purely out of interest, do you carry either/both a drogue and parachute? …Partly due to point 2, I thought I would get both a parachute and a proper series drogue for the boat this time – to give some choice in the matter. I have heard, but with no decent references, that lifting the keel when lying to a drogue would mitigate against being tripped during a broach in exceptional conditions. Any thoughts on this?

I really believe parachute anchors are useless and dangerous… a boat like the OVNI is made to sail, so I would not suggest to heave to to a sea anchor EVER! If you have the experience (and the guts!) you just carry on sailing, playing the swell and winds and hope for the best. Much safer than lying to a drogue.

Questions About Heavy Weather Sailing

…reading the ovni faq jimmy says that the best way to sail an ovni in bad weather is keep her sailing and not use drogues and parachute anchors. we would like to have advice about the best way of keeping her sailing with a small crew in 40/50 knots and more. is he steering the boat himself at that moment which course to the wind and waves is the best to steer when you have space enough do you still lift the centreboard when you are downwind reaching in bad weather do you always try to avoid sailing in bad weather how much is using as less sail as possible is there something published in a book or article about sailing this kind of modern boats so we can read about it.

First of all I need to make two important points: 1. I speak entirely from personal experience, and am not prepared to make general statements on this, or any, subject; 2. The most important aspect in anything to do with sailing is the personal experience of the skipper and his crew. Nothing can beat that!

I will now deal with your points in order: 1. Drogues or parachute anchors: I have no personal experience of either, have considered both, and decided that a medium light displacement boat as an OVNI could be handled, in heavy weather, without such aids. The maximum wind I have experienced on my current OVNI 43 was 60 knots, but that was in gusts. The highest sustained winds I have had to deal with were 50 knots, with corresponding seas. This was in Le Maire Strait (off Argentina) and the seas were quite confused and high. We continued to sail the boat, as far reefed down as possible, and survived with only some minor damage. 2. Sailing an OVNI in 40-50 knots. I have been in 40+ knots on several occasions, and – fortunately on most occasions – the wind was from such a direction that I could continue to sail more or less in the direction I wanted to go. Usually I would have 3 reefs in the mainsail (I have a 4th reef as well, but have used it only once), and the staysail rolled up to about half its normal size. Broadreaching at about 150 degrees is the best for the boat and steering. Under such conditions I normally let the autopilot do the work: I have a powerful Brookes & Gatehouse hydraulic pilot. Occasionally I take over by hand, but it is hard work… and I am not doing such a good job as the pilot! The pilot is an ATP2 hydraulic system – identical to the one used by Ellen McArthur on her recent circumnavigation… so you can see why it works so well on a 43 foot cruising yacht!

Returning from Antarctica to Chile in 1999, we had to heave to in about 45 knots as the winds were from NW and we expected higher seas once we reached the continental shelf. With 4 reefs in the main, and a well reefed staysail, the boat hove-to well, and was quite comfortable. We spent the night like this, and by morning the wind had gone into the north and we could lay our course. 1. If you have enough sea room, the best way, I believe, is to try and broadreach (around 150 degrees). If you have no sea room, then heaving to is probably the answer. 2. To avoid bad weather, I do try and sail – whenever possible – in the safe seasons in the tropics, so as to avoid, as much as possible, being caught by a tropical storm. Avoiding bad weather at other times (on long passages) is virtually impossible, so one has to be prepared for it. 3. Books: I think Adlard Coles “ Heavy Weather Sailing ” (in its latest edition) is the best on the subject.

Going now back to the two points I made at the beginning, I want to encourage you to get yourselves (and the boat) as well prepared as possible… and go sailing. It is certainly not as dangerous out there as you think, especially if you are reasonably cautious… and the experience that I also mentioned will come with time!

It never happened yet, but if an Ovni capsizes, what happens to the keel, is it fixed or does it fall down, risking damage to the boat and preventing the boat to redress itself?

If an OVNI inverts, I am sure it will come back again although you may lose the mast. My OVNI 43 has 3.5 tones of lead ballast to a displacement of 8.5 tons, so it is quite stable. The centreboard, if in the fixed position, will not move. If the hydraulic lock is open, the centreboard will simply fall into its case – and not cause any damage. The board weighs about 100 kg, so it is too light to prevent the boat from righting itself.

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Questions about sails and rigging

You took a fully battened main and a roller staysail, were you happy with this rig, what type of foresails do you have, the yard provides ’53’ and ’44’ winches: are these adequate in your view, is there a problem in tuning the rig with the double afterstays do you have any device to tighten them, could you give us some advice on the parasailor, what’s your opinion on the reefing arrangement best suited to aventura iii.

I am very happy with the fully battened mainsail, as it is very efficient – and you need to sail this kind of boat efficiently to windward. The sail is fitted with lazy jacks and a lazy bag. It is a perfect combination.

I’d like to add that if you go for a fully battened mainsail, make sure you get the best quality roller bearing travellers (Harken works very well on mine)

Back to Sails & Rigging

On Aventura III , I have both a furling staysail and a furling yankee (not a genoa – as I took the boat into strong wind areas, so I considered a genoa to be too much). This system works very well.

The winches installed as standard are adequate but I also have an electric winch (also Harken) which deals with all heavy work – and all my halyards, etc come to the cockpit. The electric winch is on the port side by the companionway.

I can tighten both backstays (I have a tightener on each backstay as used on some racing boats) and it works very well.

…I have read with great interest your accounts about your experience with the Parasailor… I am about to cross the Atlantic with the ARC from east to west and am seriously considering buying this sail. We are a not-so-experienced crew and I would like to make our downwind sailing as comfy and safe as possible. The sail is very expensive, so I’m hesitating… any advice for 3 women eager to sail with ease??

The Parasailor spinnaker is a great sail, I have no doubts about that… but it is more expensive than a normal spinnaker as it is a high-tech sail. It will definitely make sailing downwind easier, so if you can afford it, I certainly advise you to get it… but hurry up or you may not get it in time for this year’s ARC. I used a Parasailor for about 8,000 miles in the last 18 months and it worked perfectly!

…I would appreciate your opinion on the reefing arrangement best suited to Aventura III. The standard Alubat reefing set-up is to provide single line reefing back to the cockpit, I very much wish to have the reefing lines led back to the cockpit. We have been contemplating having separate lines for the leach and luff reefpoints on the first two reefs, all four lines led to clutches on the stbd side cockpit cabin top. I am hoping that this will ensure that we would end up with less friction, lower loads, more control and perhaps better sail shape. We have already picked up on the need for a fully battened main and are having Harken’s Batt Car & track to ensure friction is kept to a minimum.

Single-line reefing has great advantages – and works well provided you use good quality lines and blocks. On my boat I have the 1st reef set up at the foot of the mast. The 4th is only set up in emergencies.

The most important reefs are 2nd and 3rd as it is very convenient to be able to deal with them from the comfort of the dry cockpit, when the wind comes up! My single lines run through blocks on the luff and leach of the sail, through the boom., and back to an electric winch in the cockpit. There is naturally some friction but this is not too bad if you use large blocks, and ideally bring the mainsail as close as feasible to the centreline of the boat. I managed to take in a reef often when running, but it has to be done very gradually, by easing the main halyard bit by bit. Needless to say both the main halyard and reefing lines are next to each other right by the electric winch, which makes it very easy for one person to reef in normally less than one minute.

Using two lines would not work so well from the cockpit, in which case you might as well use the classic system and do the work from the foot of the mast.

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Questions about engine, propeller & equipment

Did you take the bigger engine option (60hp), engine volvo or yanmar.

  • I have just ordered a 435 for a long trip. The boat comes with Volvo MD22 as standard. You said this had problems, and you would use a Yanmar in future. Is this a problem with installation, or just a poorer engine design in your experience?
  • High output alternators?

Did you fit an Autoprop?

Did you get a good enough radar picture with the scanner on the aft porch/spoiler, how do you get your heating system to work efficiently.

  • You say that you have a watermaker (type?), does it run on 12 V or do you have a 220 V generator?
  • What are Jimmy’s comments on the Windpilot he uses?

No, and the 50 hp is ok. There were a few early problems such as the salt water pump had to be replaced twice, but it all works fine now. The engine uses too much oil for my taste, but I’ve been assured that this is a general problem with this model and there is no reason to be concerned,

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I had a lot of problems with the Volvo so I hope the Yanmar is better!

I have just ordered a 435 for a long trip, and I was wondering if I could clarify a few points … The boat comes with Volvo MD22 as standard. You said this had problems, and you would use a Yanmar in future. The MD22 is fairly commonplace, although the Yanmar has a better reputation. Is this a problem with installation, or just a poorer engine design in your experience? Maybe I should switch if possible.

I cannot comment on Volvo’s quality (MD22) – I did have a lot of problems with the sea water pump, but what annoyed me most was the bad after-sales service, even while the engine was still under guarantee. I just hope Yanmar are better in this respect. My Volvo is running well, so no complaints on that score.

High output alternators? …In my discussions with Mr. Bernard Roucher at Alubat in Les Sables d’Olonne, I could not obtain clear advice on options for achieving the charging capacity required for a bank of 6-95 amp-hr batteries. For Euro 1385, he indicated that the Volvo distributor puts a 60 amp high output alternator in place and clearly this is costly and insufficient. You have stated that Aventura III is equipped with two 70 amp high output alternators: did you have this work completed by Alubat? I feel as though I need to have the charging capacity I need at launch since my plan is to sail the boat home, not ship it.

The first alternator on my OVNI43 was installed by Alubat. It is not really a high-output alternator, just a standard alternator. The cost quoted by Alubat is about the same as the price I paid in 1998. The second alternator is fitted with a Greiff smart regulator. This work was done in London by a German electrical engineer and inventor (Wilhelm Greiff) after the boat was delivered. Depending on your electricity consumption, you may find the two alternators sufficient. I also have 3 solar panels, as well as a Rutland windgenerator.

No, a Maxprop, and it works very well.

No problem there – it works very well.

…You mention that you have a WEBASTO hot air heating in your boat and four outlets. My boat is a little smaller than yours (40 ft). I installed 3 years ago a heating (Eberspächer) very similar to your Webasto I imagine and 5 outlets (one in the forecabin, one in each of the aft cabins and two in the centre. This heating provides hot water as well in a very efficient way. But I’m not satisfied by the heating which is not efficient at all. The heating exchanger (XEROS 4200) is at the aft part of the boat and the air is not hot enough when arriving in the fore part and even in the middle (too long hose?). When it is 10°C outside, I cannot get more than 14°C inside….. That is why I would like to ask you how is the installation of “Aventura III”. Do you use some exchanger similar to the XEROS ? How do you get hot air at more than 4/5 meters from it?

Your problem could be the insulation of your boat. My boat is very well insulated, both overhead, and the sides down to waterlevel (should have gone right down to the bilge!). We had no problem keeping the boat warm in Antarctica, even if, as in your case, the hot air outlets farthest away from the heater were not very efficient. So you may have to get the boat better insulated… or learn to live at 14°C… in Antarctica we had the temperature go down to 6° at night – and we survived!

You say that you have a watermaker (type?), does it run on 12 V or do you have a 220V generator?

I have a HRO and I am not too happy with it. It works on 12V but needs a lot of power (about 40-50 Amps) so need to run the engine when using it. There are now better systems on the market… HRO is, I feel, rather outdated. I don’t have a 220V generator.

What are Jimmy’s comments on the Windpilot he uses? …(I think it must be the Pacific MF4 model) since I own a Trisbal 36 (more or less the same as an OVNI of the same length) and I’d wish to install one. …What about the electric pilot used with the Windpilot? You used to use a Hydrovane windvane steering system. I would be very interested to know whether either system is clearly better than the other and, if so, which is best and why. Did you switch from the Hydrovane to the Windpilot because the former did not work satisfactorily?

Yes, I use a Windpilot Pacific self-steering gear (1998) and I am reasonably happy with it. Occasionally I use a small autopilot (Navico) as a back-up to my main autopilot (Brookes & Gatehouse), especially in light winds as the Navico uses less power. The system works but, as I said, I use it mainly as an emergency back-up. The make of the pilot is not important as long as it is of the push-pull type that can be connected to the Windpilot’s windvane frame.

I switched from Hydrovane to WindPilot because I felt that the Hydrovane system may not be powerful enough for a 43 ft boat. The Hydrovane worked well on my previous, 40 ft boat, so I could not state that one is better than the other. Both have certain limitations, and in fact all wind operated self-steering systems have some limitations, so I prefer to have both a windvane and a reliable autopilot – and I advise anyone setting off on a long voyage to follow my example.

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Other questions

Do you have some suggestions regarding the prevention of hull corrosion by electrolysis or do you have other instruments other than the zinc anodes to face this potentially “lethal” phenomenon, your opinion of a watertight bulkhead bowthruster, have you had any problems with the plastic valving, sea cocks etc – or did you replace stuff, did you increase the tankage on water(or fuel) during the build.

  • What can I use to purify the water in the (obviously Aluminium!) water tanks?

Did you make any changes to the boat’s standard layout, if so, what did you change?

Have you, or considered, reinforced the companionway hatch/washboards it seemed a little light to me., how does the ovni perform upwind can you estimate the average angle between windward and cog and the speed, tacking in different wind forces and sea state, is condensation an issue in colder climates, if you should order a new ovni, which changes would you make, any other thoughts or suggestions.

I have had an OVNI435 for 5 years – and sailed some 45.000 miles – and – thank God – have not had any corrosion problems. I have renewed the zinc anodes regularly (one which goes quickly – after about 6-9 months – is the propeller anode – I have a MaxProp). Apart from that all you need to do is regularly check the current leakage meter ( Contrôle d’isolement ) which is installed as standard on all OVNIs.

Also, take normal precautions, such as never staying too long docked next to a boat that is made of steel, or boats that run their generator too much… by not too long, I mean not weeks. Also, it is very important when you connect to shore power in marinas that you make sure that the polarity is correctly wired – a lot of marinas are not (which doesn’t really matter on 220 Volt but apparently is not a good idea on an alu boat).

Back to Other Questions

The boat has a watertight compartment ahead of the fwd cabin (the chain locker) so I am not sure about having more of the same. Bowthruster only if you use the boat a lot in marinas and are short-handed. The boat handles very well without a thruster, …but I would get one for the Med.

I don’t have plastic seacocks but welded alu pipes which I think are probably better, especially in ice.

No, I have a watermaker, so no problem.

What can I use to purify the water in the (obviously Aluminium!) water tanks? I have an Ovni 385 and am trying to find out what I can use to purify the water in the (obviously Aluminium!) water tanks. Bleach cannot be used as it reacts with the metal… do you have any ideas?

The manufacturer should have neutralized the tanks when new. There is a product on the market that is used to do just that but I do not know the name. I think West Marine in the US are selling that product. What people have done is use vinegar to neutralize new tanks… it seems to work.

The bad news is that chlorine in ordinary tap water also reacts with aluminium tanks and gives off a bad smell. So what I do is I use one tank for only water from the watermaker, which has no chlorine, and the other tank I fill up from marinas… and always make sure when I leave the boat for any time, that I completely empty the tanks.

The two main changes were to move the galley to port and have 2 armchairs installed at the navigation station, which is now on the stb side of the boat, parallel with the dinette.

The main companionway is indeed not very strong but where are you planning to go?

The actual angle can be anything between 50 and 60 degrees. The speed depends on the strength of wind of course. I have sailed upwind under all wind conditions and the boat has performed well, but it is very important to have good sails, to reef early, to set the sails well, etc. It all takes more effort than on a keeled boat, but it works!

…We intend to buy a used OVNI (80’s). Our major concern is about condensation. We will be sailing in Canada with summer water temperature around 8°C with a air temperature around 20°. The boat is not insulated. I plan to install a central fuel cabin heater. I notice that the centreboard compartment is covered inside with a thin vinyl and so is some deck area near the rear cabin. I thought that wooden interior finish would create a barrier. Am I too optimistic? From your experience, do you think that condensation would be a issue? I would not want to get into insulating the boat.

My own OVNI is insulated from the waterline up, and including the roof. It is 100 mm polystyrene (hard) insulation and works very well both in hot and cold weather. It was excellent in Antarctica. Installing insulation is, I agree, quite an upheaval, so I suggest you try it without insulation one season and see how it goes. What you can do is pack up all top hatches with bubble-wrap. It lets light through but acts as a barrier… and the worst area for condensation are the plexi hatches. Try it.

That’s a difficult question! The main cabin is forward of the mast and the bunk is too narrow (my wife complains about it) so I would make sure that the main cabin (wherever it is) has a wide berth.

I gave up the port aft cabin to have more storage space, and now I regret not having that extra cabin.

Apart from that I wouldn’t make too many changes as I am quite happy (mine is a 43 – the new 435 is better designed and has a lot more space, and carries the beam further aft). All I can say, that if and when I order another boat it will be an OVNI again (probably the 455 – as my family is growing!).

  • Buy the best anchor windlass you can afford (I have Lofrans – excellent)
  • Put a second (identical) alternator on the engine – ideally with an intelligent charging/regulator system. I have a German regulator supplied by Wilhelm Greiff and it works very well.
  • In heavy weather the ventilation ports let water into both engine and starboard locker. This can be very dangerous and something should be done about it.
  • Make sure you fix the spreaders so they cannot ride up on the rigging – we lost one on the way to the Falklands!
  • When you install the secondary (low level) navigation lights, put the stern light on a separate switch, so you can use it when you get on and off the skirt at night – or when working there generally, such as when adjusting the windvane (Windpilot in my case).

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The boat-sinking orcas are back.

Around 9 a.m. Sunday near the Strait of Gibraltar, two people on board the roughly 50-foot Alboran Cognac reported blows to the vessel’s hull and saw damage to the rudder as water flowed into the ship, Spain’s maritime rescue agency said.

An unknown number of killer whales had struck again, after hundreds of such encounters in recent years.

Over the radio, responders told the two individuals to put on their life jackets, make sure their GPS locaters were turned on and prepare for emergency evacuation. In the meantime, Spanish and Moroccan rescue agencies began urgently working to save them, locating a nearby oil tanker and electing not to dispatch a helicopter.

After about an hour, that tanker rescued the pair 14 miles off Cape Spartel in northern Morocco, the Spanish Maritime Safety and Rescue Agency (SASEMAR) said in a news release. The boat was left adrift and soon sank.

Spain-based Alboran Charter confirmed its ownership of the sunken vessel and said the individuals were customers. The company declined to say more about what happened or who the clients were.

Iberian orcas sinking a ship is not new. Over the past four years, at least 15 orcas have interacted with hundreds of boats sailing in the waters off Portugal, Spain and Morocco, sinking a handful of vessels in seemingly coordinated ambushes. Some ships have been found with teeth marks; others appear to have been rammed by an orca’s head or body.

On average, there have been 168 interactions each year since 2020, according to Grupo de Trabajo Orca Atlántica, or GTOA, a research group studying the region’s killer whales. GTOA has tracked 26 interactions so far this year, down from 61 through a similar time frame in 2023.

It’s not clear why the orcas have recently bumped, bitten and sank vessels. Some scientists say they are simply being playful, or maybe are curious, or perhaps are coming after boats because of a loss of prey. A handful say the actions could actually be gratifying to the whales.

A leading theory, though, is one of vengeance.

This idea, advanced by a scientist who has studied the encounters, posits that a female orca suffered a traumatic run-in with a boat that led her to start attacking the vessels. And because orcas are intelligent marine mammals that learn behaviors like hunting together, others followed.

But there is disagreement over this theory.

Some scientists argue that the incidents shouldn’t be called “attacks” without knowing the whales’ motives. They fear that label could prompt retaliation by boaters, calling it potentially “harmful” to the critically endangered species with just a few dozen members.

“Science cannot yet explain why the Iberian orcas are doing this, although we repeat that it is more likely related to play/socialising than aggression,” a group of more than 30 scientists wrote in an open letter last summer. “ … When we are at sea, we are in the realm of marine life. We should not punish wildlife for being wild.”

The letter explained that orcas have been observed developing “cultural ‘fads,’” including carrying dead fish on their heads, and the incidents with the boats may be nothing more than a “fashion trend.”

SASEMAR warned that the risk of the encounters is highest between May and August, recommending that boats avoid the area between the Strait of Gibraltar to the Gulf of Cádiz to its west. It added that if a boat comes across orcas, it should not stop moving, and instead should head toward the coast and shallower waters. People should not approach the side of the boat and are barred from using measures that could injure or kill the whales.

“It is possible the behaviour, as previous fads have,” the scientists wrote, “will disappear as suddenly as it appeared.”

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Orcas Sink Another Boat Near Iberia, Worrying Sailors Before Summer

Two people were rescued on Sunday after orcas damaged their boat near the Strait of Gibraltar, where the animals have caused havoc in recent years.

Two orcas are visible just above the surface of a body of water, with a small boat in the background.

By Isabella Kwai

Summer is on the way, meaning that the orcas are out to play near the Strait of Gibraltar — which is bad news for sailors.

Two people were rescued on Sunday after an attack by a group of orcas caused enough damage to sink their boat, according to the Spanish maritime rescue service. It was the fifth such sinking in waters off the Iberian Peninsula and North Africa in recent years.

The Alboran Cognac, a sailing yacht about 50 feet long, was approached by the animals on Sunday morning, some 14 miles off Cape Spartel in Morocco, the rescue service said. Crew members onboard reported that the animals had slammed the hull, damaged the rudder and caused a leak.

A nearby oil tanker quickly maneuvered toward the boat and evacuated the two sailors, who were taken to Gibraltar, the rescue service said. The boat was left adrift, and the Moroccan authorities reported that it eventually sank.

It’s the first boat to sink in those waters this year after an orca-related mishap. A group of orcas that traverse the Strait of Gibraltar and nearby waters has plagued sailors and intrigued marine biologists , who are studying the population. Since 2020, orcas have disrupted dozens of sailing journeys in these high-traffic waters, in some cases slamming vessels hard enough to cause critical damage.

Last November, orcas slammed a yacht’s rudder for 45 minutes, causing its crew to abandon the vessel, which sank near the Tanger Med port.

The group is more likely to appear in the busy lanes around the Gulf of Cadiz and the Strait of Gibraltar between April and August, the Spanish government said in a news release, and sailors have spotted some of the orcas there in recent weeks.

Researchers do not know why the pod is targeting boats, but they have theorized that the behavior is a form of play for the curious apex predators. The interactions have become so frequent that they are now a multinational issue, involving scientists and officials from Spain, Portugal and Morocco. Online, anxious sailors have gathered to share advice on navigating “orca alley,” and biologists are tracking the orcas’ movements and testing methods that could deter them.

In the event of an orca encounter, the government advised in its release, boats should not stop but instead head toward shallower waters near the coast.

But the number of incidents may be declining: Researchers at the Atlantic Orca Working Group said on Monday that the number of orca interactions with boats between January and May had dropped some 40 percent, compared with that of similar periods in the past three years.

Isabella Kwai is a Times reporter based in London, covering breaking news and other trends. More about Isabella Kwai

Boats still aren't safe from orcas as the Mediterranean yachting season kicks off and killer whales sink another yacht

  • Killer whales took down another yacht on Monday as the Mediterranean yachting season begins.
  • It's the latest incident of orcas clashing with boats, which has been on the rise in recent years.
  • Marine biologists say the orcas are likely playing and may be learning the behavior from each other.

Insider Today

The Mediterranean yachting season has kicked off for the summer — and it didn't take long for another yacht to fall victim to a killer whale encounter .

A group of orcas sank a 50-foot sailing yacht in Moroccan waters on Sunday in the latest of several similar incidents involving the highly social species that have occurred over the past four years.

An unknown number of orcas were involved in the incident, which took place in the Strait of Gibraltar, Spain's maritime rescue service said Monday, according to Reuters .

Related stories

The incident is the most recent in a spate of bizarre orca encounters with boats that have been on the rise in recent years, primarily in Mediterranean waters south of Spain, where many yachts cruise during the summer months.

Two passengers were on board the Alboran Cognac around 9 a.m. local time on Sunday when they felt sudden hits to the hull and rudder, Reuters reported, citing the maritime service. Water soon started to pour into the yacht.

A nearby oil tanker came to the people's rescue, saving them from the waterlogged ship and delivering them to land.

But the yacht wasn't as lucky. The Alboran Cognac stayed adrift for a time until it ultimately sank.

Since 2020, hundreds of similar encounters between boats and orcas have been documented off the southern coasts of Spain and Portugal, often near the Strait of Gibraltar. And it's not just yachts. The orcas have also rammed into sailboats, and some mariners have even created heavy-metal playlists in hopes of deterring the killer whales — though experts say it'll do little to help .

Researchers say the clashes typically follow a similar pattern, with a killer whale repeatedly ramming into the rudder of a ship, often until it breaks and the boat is stranded. Most of the time, the ships are able to escape with minimal damage, but several boats have sunk .

While the so-called orca "attacks" may appear violent, marine biologists have said it's unlikely the encounters are actually malicious. Several experts told Business Insider last year that the orcas are probably just playing .

Andrew Trites, director of the Marine Mammal Research Unit at the University of British Columbia in Canada, said ramming into the boats may simply be a "playful activity that's gotten way out of hand."

Researchers have also said the killer whales may be learning the behavior from each other through simple imitation.

Watch: Billionaire's $20 million plan to send orca home after 50 years in captivity

ovni yachts review

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  1. Allures 40.9 vs Ovni 400: French aluminium centreboarders go head-to-head

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  1. Videotour ALUBAT OVNI 365

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    October 24, 2023. Tour the Ovni 370 aluminum sailboat. From the raised salon interior to the modern reverse bow design, this 39-foot sailboat is truly exceptional - not to mention she sails like a rocket ship! Sitting at the salon, you have direct line of view to the outside, and for a 39-foot boat, it is the most optimal interior for a monohull.

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