Welcome to one of our over 20 Online Books

  • As a non-member you can read the chapter descriptions and the introduction to each chapter.
  • Go ahead and explore to see the great actionable information our members get for just $2.00/month—full access to ALL of our books.
  • When you are done, scroll to the bottom of the page to learn more about membership.
  • You can also sign up to read 10 full sample chapters.
Online Book:

Boat Design & Selection—Ovni 435

Find out what happens when a sailor with decades of experience as a professional research sailboat skipper in demanding conditions sets out to have his dream voyaging boat built. Colin shares the process of having a semi-custom Ovni 435 built as well as the subsequent shakedown and debugging of this voyaging boat. If you are considering buying a voyaging boat, new or used, you owe it to yourself to read this Online Book.

Table of Contents:

Turning The Dream Into Reality

Ever since Colin was a small child he had a fascination with building things, or making them better. He now turns his eye towards building a sailboat.

A Boat Built To Travel

The OVNI 435 aluminum sailboat has a well-protected rudder and prop.

Colin and Louise need a sailboat that can go virtually anywhere, for extended periods, and be as self-sufficient as possible—something like an ocean-going 4×4. They chose an OVNI 435.

Making The Most Of Aluminum

The OVNI 435 aluminum sailboat deck showing deck fittings welded on rather than screwed on.

Aluminum has many obvious attributes as a construction material—high strength to weight, durability, lack of maintenance—but there are other, subtler benefits that aluminum can offer, especially if building a boat from scratch.

Self-Defence In Harbour

Colin discusses what you will need if you are thinking of cruising in places without floating dock marinas.

A Practical Interior At Sea Or In Harbour

Colin discusses the very different priorities involved when designing a boat for extended offshore cruising versus one designed for the occasional weekend aboard or a two week annual holiday.

Limits To Complexity

Stand alone electronics seem to be a thing of the past. Colin writes about the dangers of integrated systems.

A Practical Cruising Rig

A sloop rig might be fine in sunny sheltered waters with an army of gorillas as crew, but it is less than ideal for shorthanded crews sailing in windy and exposed seas. This is when the ability to reef swiftly and safely is far more important, and the true cutter rig comes in to its own.

The "S" Word—Stability

Colin checks stability numbers for his OVNI 435 and is reassured. But there is more to sailboat capsize safety than the numbers.

Self-Sufficiency In Power

When building their OVNI, Colin and Louise remained true to their commitment to renewable power after so many years of both working in the environmental field by designing a power generation system that balances wind and solar.

What Has Worked So Far—On The Water

After sailing their new home a little, Colin gives their first impressions on the OVNI as a yacht in her own right, as well as on some of the equipment they added.

Shoal Draft Voyaging

One of the main attractions of the OVNI range is their shoal draft and beachability. We’ve all seen the photos: parked on some deserted islet with an impossibly azure sea far in the background. The theory looks enticing, but how far does it reflect reality? Colin discusses their experiences on Pèlerin.

Achieving The Impossible

Colin discusses some of the modifications they made to their OVNI 435 to make her both a comfortable home and a voyaging machine.