Cost of Renovating an OVNI 36

The January 2017 edition of French sailing magazine Voiles et Voiliers had an interesting article on renovating an OVNI 36. The OVNIs are aluminium boats built by French boat yard Alubat and are regularly featured in lists of top “blue water cruisers”. Jimmy Cornell owned one

The work was carried out by a well respected yard – Arzal Nautique – which is often referred to as the OVNI clinic by owners of OVNIs. The aim of the refit was too make the boat look “like new” in order to sell her. No major systems or hardware was upgraded or replaced. The refit was essentially cosmetic and consisted of a paint job and of changing all the hatches and port lights. Here is a breakdown of the costs:

Haul out and un-stepping / re-stepping mast1 050 Euros
Sandblasting1 950 Euros
Pre and Post Painting Labour21 500 Euros
Painting3 750 Euros
Hatches and Port Lights1 300 Euros
Hull Polishing and Varnishing1 860 Euros
Total before tax31 000 Euros
Total including tax37 500 Euros

The main thing that jumps out is the eye watering cost of removing and then reinstalling all the deck hardware and of removing the old non-slip material. This was by far the biggest cost of the refit: 21500 Euros! Removing hardware on an old boat is always difficult and time consuming. It looks like the deck of this boat was covered with treadmaster which is particularly nasty to remove. This is however not a specialised job and it’s something that an owner could do. This would have saved 2/3 of the total cost of the refit… There is no indication in the article that the job was made more difficult by the fact that the boat was aluminium.

Removing Deck Hardware and Preping for Paint

Painting an aluminium boat is different from painting a fiberglass or wooden boat. The problem is that bare aluminium will nearly immediately oxidise and that this oxidation will stop primer and paint from adhering properly… The OVNI was sandblasted to ensure good adhesion of the new paint – and to allow inspection for any signs of corrosion or damage of the aluminium. After sandblasting was completed the boat was immediately transferred to a heated painted cabin to avoid any moisture attacking the bare aluminium. The boat was then painted with several coats of anti-corrosion epoxy primer. It was only after this step that fairing really started… Overall, although the process is different from a fibreglass or wooden boat and needs specialist facilities and diligent staff, the cost was not significantly greater than for a yacht made from fibreglass or wood.

The OVNI 36 featured in the article is for sale here for 150 000 Euros.