HOME – Ovni 385 “CYBELLE”

Ovni 385 - ready to go (Sep 2012)DSC_0662

[NOTE – this site was originally put up in 2013 when the boat was for sale – which it no longer is – we couldn’t bear to part with him (in France boats are male) but as it seems to have proved useful for people researching the OVNI brand it has been left available. After 22 years of owning 2 Ovnis we have a great deal of acquired knowledge of these boats so feel free to ask questions via the Contact form]

One of the last of the 385s (a Phillipe Briand design, as have been most OVNIs) which became the significantly different 395 in 2004 (loa, lwl, beam, draft, displacement & hull form – a Marc Lombard design this time) – so this one is just about the youngest 385 around

Owner’s version (2 cabins) of this ocean-going centreboarder (not swing-keel) aluminium yacht.  In case you weren’t aware, OVNI means UFO in english…

The Alubat shipyard is based in Les Sables d’Olonnes in the Vendée department (Les Sables and Vendée as in Vendée Globe) and the boat is based in southern Brittany. The atlantic coast of Brittany between Brest and Bordeaux must be one of the world’s best cruising grounds for its mix of destinations (islands in every direction, sophistication or rustic charm as required), conditions (very temperate climate, but this is the Bay of Biscay..) and major tides (it’s no accident that the reference in the DI concept (Deriveur Integral or fully retracting centreboarder) evolved here)

Oh, and if you’re looking at this because you’re considering buying an Ovni, don’t be put off by all the guff about electrolysis or galvanic corrosion – of course there can be truth in it (usually on home-built aluminium boats or post-upgrade work due to incorrect wiring/installations) but that’s like saying “don’t consider a fibreglass boat because of osmosis”  Huh??   Nevertheless these are different boats made of unusual material in most people’s experience so certain rules apply and vigilance is required to catch any problems early.

PS There is normally a current leakage gauge which lets you know when there’s a problem needing attention – never had an electrical leak problem in 20 years but they can of course occur – often due incorrect antifoul, anode installation/bonding, bad prepping of painted surfaces, older boats with steel tanks which come into contact with the hull, use of incorrect water treatments in aluminium tanks, etc..).

It must be said that Paint (deck/topsides) + Aluminium is a difficult mix and demands patience and timely intervention if you are to avoid major work.  Other than that you can be first in and first out of a drying harbour and if you’re careless enough to crash into a reef on the way you’ll probably get away with no more than cosmetic damage or at worst a dented hull!


2 responses to “HOME – Ovni 385 “CYBELLE”

  1. Hi!
    Great webpage! Even though there are quite a few Ovni’s out there it’s not too easy to come in contact with (especially experienced) Ovni owners to discuss technical aspects. Myself, I’m on my second year as an Ovni owner. I’m quite unconcernad about the electrical installations omboard, however one problem is yet to be solved. I’m hoping that you with your extensive experience can at least tell me how your setup was on your former boats.

    My engine is corroding, more precisely the heat exchanger. The engine is isolated from the hull through the rubber engine mounts, and the prop shaft is isolated from the engine. The engine itself has no internal anodes.

    My idea of how to fix this is to connect the engine to the hull and the prop shaft to the engine (and putting an anode on the prop shaft. This would propably save the engine, but when glowing the engine battery minus will temporarily be connected to the hull.

    What would your recommendation be, and how was your engine(s) setup?

    Best regards

    • Sorry about delay in replying – it’s not difficult to find OVNI owners to discuss things with but of course the vast majority are french and therefore to understand the very active, informative OvniClub forums you need to speak french. The small english-speaking part of the forum is not extensive and some, but very few, french owners speak english. Having said that, you could try your question on the french forums (ovniclub.com) and see if an english-speaking electrically-knowledgeable member (eg Hanami II or Sine Die) replies. Some people have done this with success.

      Before I answer your query, are you being precise when you say it’s the heat exchanger that’s being corroded? It is ‘normal’ (meaning ‘frequent’, not ‘acceptable’!) for the exhaust elbow (which of course comes off the heat exchanger) to corrode. This is not a galvanic corrosion issue.

      To return to your query – here’s a translation of a thread comment which seems to be pertinent http://www.ovniclub.com/forum/help-fuite-electrique-moteur-urgent-t1276.html
      “The general rule for aluminium hulls being not to earth anything to the hull directly, as you would expect the alternator and starter have independent earths. The fuel pump stop solenoid and the glowplugs, however, do not. These are temporarily earthed to the engine (and hence the hull) via a relay when the key is turned (2 diodes doing the job). So it’s normal that the leak indicator shows an alarm not on starting, but on pre-heating. When the key comes back to the ‘On’ position everything returns to normal.”

      Personally I wouldn’t link the engine to the shaft (after all there is often an isolating plate between the gearbox and the shaft) and the engine directly and permanently to the hull. This seems to go against all accepted wisdom. However, in describing your idea, you mention that the engine (-) would only be temporarily connected to the hull when pre-heating, so that reassures me you are aware of the issues and indeed, probably more competent than me in this area.
      hope it’s useful
      regards, Paul

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