Taitonga - Tipps for Ovni-Buyers/-owners /

Thoughts of Improvements / Alubat Ovni 395

Optimization / Verbesserungen / Optimierung

We would like to give you our experiences, what we would improve and what we consider to be good on an OVNI395.

Good choice, good quality over all, but some stupid flaws! (in a much used boat i would expect most flwas dealt with ...)
Even beeing in the caribbean most of the time until the end of 2013 we used the liftingknell to get into places others can not go! => I like it, even it means closed hauled is not very good to go. In my point of view this boat is optimized for halfwind to wind from the back-quarter => that´s what we expect to have mostly.
It rolls much more because th missing weight in a keel.

A manual for a cellphone has much more pages than our Ovni395-manual (around 100 pages) for the whole boat => it is a far to flat.
Check out if you find informations on e.g.
- how to replace the fuse of the rudder hydraulic and what to use as a replacement hydraulic liquid
- which paint for what (and how much) if you need to do a (little) renovation
- how many liters of antifouling for the hull you have to buy
- what kind of paint to use on deck and how this paint is named in the US
- how to replace the lines for the lifting-keel
- a description how to trimm the Ovni best (keel up / down / points for reefing the foresail / …) with a polar diagramm to check if you are doing adequate speed (if anyone has a polar diagramm we would be thankful for a copy)
- how to handle rudder and kneel at anchor (up or down)
- contact informations and manuals/descriptions of important little bits and pieces e.g. (e.g. where to get the plastic inlets for the stanchions or the rail at the mast or aluminium hinges for the cockpitlockers / where to get replacements of doorhandles and drawer knobs / ...)

Be prepared: Instruction manuals of the electric or electronic-components are mostly not very helpfull: e.g. for the Lofrans anchorwindlass Caymann 88 they say what to do as maintanance, but not how! In most manuals it is a standard to state the possibilities of problems and then say: ask a trained, professional-service-tec, which you will have trouble finding especially outside Europe...(DIY is normal!!!).

Nigel Calder: Boatowner's Mechanical and Electrical Manual: How to Maintain, Repair, and Improve Your Boat's Essential Systems.

There are some plastikscrews and some aluminiumscrews aswell doorknobs and propeller-anode I wasn´t able to find in the shipchandleries since we bought the boat => let them give you plenty (costs Alubat a smile and you save weeks to find them)
Generally: Stock up materials and tools before you leave Europe!!!!! It is mostly cheaper AND most important you will get them there easier! (e.G. an DC-Amperemeter in Germany costs around 40 US, in Panama 150+ US)
To have some french shipchandler-catalogs (downloads) on board is a good idea (even if they are in frech):
acastillage-diffusion.com (the prices on the english and french-Version differ (2013)!); or uship.com ...
Mostly we get our spares via SVB.de (english aswell), e.g. the replacementparts for our french eno-cooker.

The Arch
Fantastic to have one. We would do it higher and wider and would attach a frame on it to get the dinghy easier out of the water and to fix the dinghy when it is under the arch. If the windpilot-selfsteering and a dinghy in davits would fit beside each other that would be the optimum (I never saw that and do not know if this is even possible).
Aswell a structure to get the outboard easier on the rail would be very helpful!

Good to have one! For working with a drill we think of installing an removable little platform for a bench-vise.

Our ladder is attached onto the deck (were the dinghy bumps into it); we would liked it more invisible and hidden in the structure, so the space could be used for standing, but if you hide it check that a Windpilot-Selfsteering (WITH a Crossbar !) still can be installed.

Steering wheel
Our wheel can be “folded”, so you can pass by easier entering the cockpit
=> Dagmar likes it a lot.
=> I do not need it, because the wheelsize is small and I am walking on the benches anyway.

We do have a folding table which is ok for two but not for four!
Dagmar would not like to have an installed table, because it reduces the space in the cockpit and sometimes we sit on the floor, which would not be possible then.
I would like to have an installed table, but not the size for an Ovni 395, but for the smaller 36-modell, and I would like to have an additional gaspipe running to the table to mount a cooker, because it is more convient for me to cook outside as to heaten up the cabin in the tropics.
There is a need for a LED-Light above the table => We installed it at the steeringcolumn, and use this light also for illumination at night (additional safety to the mooringlight which might look like a star from a dinghyperspective and additional safety against intruders who like the dark).
At the start of our journey we thought electric winches are for those which too much money. Today we would like to have our 48-Lewmars electrified, because reefing or taking in the genoa is realy hard work and it is slow!
Dito we would like to have bigger (than 40) halyardwinches electrified aswell (that would not only make a journey into the mast easier for the person in the cockpit (I would spare the mastladder and take this money for an e-winch and 2 fixed maststeps near the boom and 2 fixed maststeps in the masttop)!

I would like to have the rollers for genoa and fock with a lock, so I can just change the rope to an other winch (e.g. for reefing).
Additional ropeclamps just before the mast would be nice (but 6 clamps are ok aswell)

Fixed windscreen
We love it, but check for a window to let air into the cockpit. Check our windscreen with thoughts of improvements here:
Fixed Sprayhood for our Ovni by Benjamin Ponroy, Boatwhisperer, Carpenter in Sevilla, Spain

Sprayhood (Canvas)
The arch should be round or should have a top point, so the water will not collect in the canvas.

The bimini from NV-Equipment/France is good (the thread on the seams failed in 2015) but a) to high for our boom and b) a standalone-solution.
Not only for sailing cold countries a dodger makes sense, where you could close parts or the whole cockpit (e.g. for the rainy season).
It should be possible to mount canvas-sidepanels to create a dodger to keep the rain out
It should be possible to mount net-sidepanels to create a big mosquito-net (if you take a black net you can look outside better)
It should be possible to connect the Bimini and the Sprayhood, so the rain is not getting through the gap directy in the cockpit on the sides.
It should be possible to mount a LED-Strip onto the bimini to have some light in the cockpit.
It should be possible to mount and dismount the bimini in a short time.

I am still not a big fan from fixed Bimini's but they do have the advantage of putting up some solarpanells and until now (2017) we only removed our Bimini once for the hurrican season in Carriacou ...
Essential to have at least one for the foredeck and one above the boom to cover a part of the cockpit and the saloon.
They can be designed as a watercatcher aswell! But be aware of the waterproofing-chemicals. The canvas will loose shape after some time.

With a separate tank and a two-way valve it would be possible to catch rainwater on the deck, wait 5 minutes until the deck is clean (the meantime could be used to close the exits in the toerail) and then get the water through an seperate deckfitting in the lowest deckpart into the tank.
We attached tubes as a gutter on the bimini-sides => works great.
We are happy with our standardsails!
We would prefer an possibility to adjust the rollers for the genua from inside the cockpit, when we reef the foresail (but heard from another Ovni they would not spend this money again).
One electric winsch would be fantastic to quick reefing the foresail (or getting me up the mast).
We bought a Blister/asymetrical Spi (in addition to our spinnacker onboard) so we do not have to use the spipole which we found out is not easy to mount because of the sidestay standing very foreward and the size and the weight and the boatmovement and only one person handling the task.
We like having a Single-Line-Reef in the the mainsail, so we do not have to leave the cockpit, but sometimes we are not too sure if a normal reef-system would make a better sailprofil (and normally one of us is going to the mast anyway to pull down the canvas and helps with untangling the slack.

Lazyjacks and bag
Very useful! Buy spare zippers.
Spinnackerboom on Deck
The holdingstructure of the boom is a bloody toebreaker! Let it be designed to be removeable (a holder for the stanchions costs 35E at amazon.de) or at least when the fixed structure is empty with an inlet which prevents your toe to be caught or store it on the stanchions.

Flying Backstay
We met an other Ovni where the rod of the flying backstays are too long to be attached besides the shrouds/sidestay, when not in use => check it! (Glad, ours are fine).
We would dig deeper into a riggconfiguration, where you might not need flying backstays.

We would like to have more openings in the toerail so we could use these “eyes” to attach lines and shackles (for e.g. mounting the suncovers (the reling is not designed for that) or a block for a barberhowler etc.)

We are very happy with our 30 kg Bügelanker and 95m of chain (until now the biggest depth to cover was 20m with about 65m chain; The Bügelanker can´t be bigger, because then the shaft will no longer fit with the rollerfurler). The Bügel interferes with our bowsprit for the gennacker, which results in anhalf-launched anchor, which causes the chain to be in an angle where the lockerdoor can not be shut: we have to improve a bit to get the chain in a better angle directly in the locker.e

Our Cayman 1000W sometimes is on it's limits with the 30kg anchor plus 10mm chain (ca. 2,2kg/m) => I think a stronger windlass would be nice.
Our remotecontrol sometimes gives up. We are trying to get cheap remotedevices for garages to work as a backup for our normal remote.

Horn and Speaker
We have a horn which I like but not a speaker with a mikrophone, with which it would be fun shouting orders to Dagmar on the foredeck :-) => We use quite handsignals instead.

Let them give you a guarantee for 5+ years no blisters in the paint (I wonder how they react, because these blisters on Aluboats are “normal” (but maybe could be avoided?))!!!
I would not let them paint the outside of the hull, but let end the paint on the deck 4cm of the toerail.

We are happy with 315W. Only after some cloudy, windstill days we have to run the motor for electricity. But more solar would be great.

The Aerogen 6 is quiet, but not as powerful as others and it misses an automatic off-switch and has to be shut off in high windspeeds manually => Maybe not so easy over 45 knots.
I would install an other one but it should be as quiet (at the moment the “D400” is my favorite) ! (For me quietness is much more important than power!!!)

The boat is equipped with a Mastervolt-Mass-Combi Charger/Inverter which is said to operate only with 220V (but heard (not expirienced) it will get some current in while connected to 110V). In the Caribbean 110V is a standard! => we are thinking of buying an converter 110V to 220V. I can not understand Alubat producing bluewateryachts for circumnavigations and putting electronics only for 220-Voltage board.
2017 the Inverter failed. Mastervolt says unrepairable => which makes both units junk => Combis are not my first choice ...

Powerplug in the cockpit
I think it can be usefull to have a protected 220V-powerplug in one of the lockers in case something has to be drilled or worked on the bathingplatform.

What is connected with what and why and what is it doing. It takes time to do a documentation, but is worth it. e.g. Powermanagement on Taitonga

General Storage
On the swimming platform we have an additional locker where our liferaft was stowed, which we did not like, because we think it is not easy to get this thing ready under distress-conditions => We now have the liferaft in a cradle ready to launch. The additional locker is perfect to store bulky items or a big gascylinder!
The fuel- and gaslocker on the side are good, but the outtakes for incomming water where not made deep enough and could have been bigger and more.

We do have larger stowing compartments in the cockpit. This reduces space below in the aft cabin, but it is worth it and we can store our Windpilot easier in it.
We do have a storage-department in the cockpit on top of the companion way. It is perfect for shoes, but it is not ventilated so they get mildew / fungus (even flippers!). Let them cut ventilationholes into it and check the angle and diameter of the waterouttakes!

The gasdepartement portside aft is high enough for 3kg campinggazbottles (which are not easy to be exchanged or filled in the non-french-Caribbean) and 2017 we found in Panama some not so tall 11lb fiberglassbottles aswell fitting in here. It is much easier to get one or two 11lb fibreglas-US-Bottles (non-corroding !!!) => let them get a hole into the big department in the aft center (if you have one, which I recommend), so you can store the big bottles in this locker (aswell as spare empty diesel-jerry-cans).

The locks of the entrancehatch should be reinforced. Aswell the handles of the skylight-hatches => Check our solution in the section Boattipps
An alarmdevice might keep you more relaxed at night if you get uninvited visitors and the door is open for ventilation.
Chippings from drilling during the manufactoring of the boat are still to be found in the hull - I hope I got most out, so they will not block the bildgepump one day.
In some lockers I found screwheads, coming in from the other side.

The gasvalve in the kitchen is hidden in a locker near the floor => BULLSHIT! Let it be installed where you can operate it easily and where you can see that it is closed!!! (Underneath the stove or left above the fridge)

We have the big tank for diesel and the little one for water and think that´s an good idea. We would like to have each tank separated into two, just in case the input-quality is not ok or something leaks.
For the fuel tank this would mean 2 sets of filters aswell.

We think the ventilation is good, but can be improved!
We made a separate lower part of the entrancehatch with big ventilationholes, so we can sleep inside with the door shut or leave the boat with “window-open”.
Ventilation aft: Dorade-vents in the footarea in the aftcabins either into the storagespaces above the cockpitlockers or secured against waves from the aft, directly to the bathingplatform, e.g. like the vent of the motor.
Ventilation front: Dorade-vents in the footarea of the frontcabin through the saillocker. The vents must be easy to secure against incomming water while underway.
All ventilationvents hatches/openings should be able to hold a moskito-/sandfly-protection!

ALL hatches should have shades and moskitonets!
ALL windows should have moskitonets!
The kitchenhatch over the cooker should open to the back, to act like a chimney to get the fumes out (instead of working like a funnel which means the fumes has to escape through the companionway or worse the aftcabin).
The hatches in the saloon should have a possibility to mount a "tent" on deck, which funnels air in and keeps rain outside (I think I have to design one).
The hatch in the frontcabin can be proteced through a seperate suncover.

More 12V and 220V plugs everywhere.
In the plastikboards of the lockers some "revision-hatches" for improving the electrical-installation would be nice.
The switchpanel in the navigation-corner is good, but still there are some cables without names on it => it could have been so easy to get these on during installation!!! => it´s more than a pitty => it´s stupid! (the same in the battery-compartement!)

A deeper compartment could hold transactionsbatteries (there is not much space) and it should be equipped with ventilators (sealed against ignition), if open cells are used (we have AGM's now), blowing in cool air with a hose to the deepest battery-point and sucking out hot air with an ventilator aswell, to keep the boat cool.
We added some spacers between the batteries to get them better ventilated.
Tags on the wires would be great, so you know from where to where everything is going. (An overviewtable would have spared me days...)
Engineroom with ventilator
Some or most Ovnis will vitit the tropics, so it is nice to get the hot air out of the boat after motoring which mostly indicates no wind-cooling-situations.

More inspection hatches to reach the corners inside without having to have an arm long like a crane and as flexible like one of an octopus.
Actually I would love to have two seperate tanks just in case one is corupted (with e.g. saltwater).

Out of the dieseltank should lead two independent fuellines with seperate fuelfilters, so you can change them underway if they are blocked by bad-quality diesel.
Actually I would love to have two seperate tanks just in case one is corupted (with e.g. saltwater, bakteria etc.).

We have a special 2 cm Layer underneath the mattress, so the humidity can escape => It works fine until now.
The mattress are only 10 or 12 cm thick foam => We would like to get 12-14cm latex to get more comfort (got good foam ones in Panama).

Leesails on the bunks in the saloon
Great to have them => We mainly use only the starboardbunk on long passages.

We find it a bit unhandy, that the biggest space for preparing food or dough for bread is directly above the fridge hatch. So everytime you need something out of the fridge you have to put all stuff above the fridge somewhere else. But there is no other, better place for the fridge in our boat.
On "Vanu Pieds" they change the places fridge (a bit smaller) and sink, which makes washing up much easier.

The fridge would need a system with levels/plasticbaskets like in a big freezer so that is is easier to find things without taking half of the other things out. It is difficult to built something in afterwards when you have to get parts for it somewhere and make them fit in.
Our fridge is bigger than we thought and we do not need it as big => We would have prefered to have more, thicker insulation instead of the volume, so the energyconsumption would be less. Our ventilator for the compressor gave up. We found out a replacement (was very hard to get in Bonaire) can be quiter and less consuming.
It may be a good idea to carry a can of refrigerant with valve and hose onboard as a spare part!
To have the hot compressor directly below the fridge is not a great idea => to switch the drawer underneath the stove with the compressor would have been clever.
We found out to have a backupfridge which could be used as a freezer aswell is a good idea.

We are very satisfied with our pizza-stone, it helps a lot to bake good bread and pizza. Our microwave is good in the harbour and since the new solarpanells good to get rid of some power if we do have too much! We usually use it because its good climate to store our bread and if there is a thunderstorm we store a laptop, handheld VHF and handheld GPS in it.

We would like to get a toaster, instead halfburning the breadslices in the oven or a pan, but have not seen something appropriate! (We found something like a pan with holes at www.compass.de which was not too bad and then rusted away) => after several other tries we stay with a rectangular nonstick pan with a thin bottom.

good but after "only" 10 years we had to replace the covers of the burner aswell the corroded stainless grill ontop. A 2 burner stove suits us.

Drawers The rails for the drawers in the kitchen at footlevel are not very strong especially when there is heavy stuff in it (which will be!).

Lockers/cabinets The locks are sometimes in the upper part, sometimes in the lower part of the door. Until now we haven´t found out the logic behind this, which results in trying the wrong part of the door many times
The locker in the frontcabin, portside, could be deeper for storage => wasted space

If you go often into a marina a Maxprop could be a good thing to get, because going reverse should be a lot easier than with a fixed 3-winged prop (on our route we decided not to spend the money for maybe 12 dockings in 3 years).

Trilux33 is more or less ok, but far from fantastic. There are only few other choices.
The fouling differs a lot: In the lagoon of St. Martin we got tons of barnacles in no time; in Carriacou, Tyrell Bay we haven´t got a barnacle in 3 month, but some weed (Our Propeller did not look good with some sponges on it); in Columbia, Cartagena we got the biggest amount of barnacles => like a carpet, but they were easely removed in half a day); Panama-City is very bad, Taboga is ok.
We haven´t found a good solution for our propeller until now (polishing and greasing does not last long).

We heard of some US-Alu-boats that they apply a resincoat and then use cooper-based antifouling which is much more effective => we do not dare it because of electrolysis!

In Spain we used 10 Liters for the boat in autumn. In Grenada we could have used 2,5 to 5 L more because the paint dries on the brush.

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