Bloody good question!
Actually I really like the XP38 very much.
It is in the same price range like your Ovni. What do you think about the two in comparison? What would you miss on an XP38?
I have to think carefully about this, and I’m not even sure my initial response will be the final. I have the sinking feeling that it will end up with Pros and Cons.
To get one elephant out of the room right away: I am not
going to say “Aluminum”. While I have preferences for it, I do not think material choice is decisive – composites also have a lot going for them.
: I sometimes wish for the X-38 rig. My Ovni has a large overlapping Genoa, which is great for going downwind on Genoa alone. On the other hand it is heavy to tack and slow to furl, but most of all the X-38 balance with a larger main sails sharper and gives finer control upwind. In favor of the Ovni, its rig is massively strong, with enough stays to keep an Airbus from lifting. A couple of years ago I stupidly headed into a 38-knot wind without a single reef (being lazy, I knew I was rounding a cape in 5 minutes if I could last). It felt surprisingly safe (though it would have moved faster with a reef or two). An inner forestay on the Ovni gives you the option of a small jib, handy.
When all is said, I suppose this would be the decider. It is where the X-38 gains a sailing advantage, but Ovni’s lifting keel is more than a gimmick. Some examples: I’ve hit a huge timber log in the North Sea; the keel tipped back undamaged, the rudder likewise – I’ve also risked light groundings with barely a scratch in the antifouling. It sits flat on sandy beaches like a brick – I can get out and scrape barnacles at will. Less obvious: in marinas with Med moorings and anchor chains lurking everywhere, you lift the keel and don’t worry. That keel is going to save me a lot of money. You also motor with the keel up, BTW, gaining some 0,2 knots. I would like the Ovni to point higher, but that applies mostly to light winds < 7 knots or hard wind > 30 knots.
Ovni has a very steady motion in sea, should be sailed relatively flat (<10-12 degrees heel is normal) and holds its course. In steady breeze on a tack I skip the autopilot and tie down the wheel, she goes like a train. In the long run, the greater heel of an X-38 becomes a (dis)comfort factor, even though she’s a fine boat in sea.
this is clearly a subjective preference, but X-38 is just too open for my kind of sailing. I need a sprayhood – indeed I replaced the canvas sprayhood on Ovni with my very own fiberglass structure, giving far better visibility in rain. In combinations of cold, wind and rain, some shelter in the cockpit is virtually a necessity for enduring 10-12 hours of sailing. This is something you know for sure in situations when top standard Musto ocean gear over wool in several layers still leaves you cold. The human machine must also function.
Finish and such:
X-38 is exquisite craftsmanship and Ovni does not try to compete on luxury feel. The emphasis has been on practicality, keeping costs down, while still giving a timber feel inside and a pleasant environment. For me the quality is easily sufficient, and things just work.
I cannot speak for the X-38 here, but doubt that the Ovni can be beat for interior climate. It is so dry and condensation free that it surprises me every time. Left for months in winter without heating it is drier when I return than when I left it. This is due to insulation, good ventilation through dorades, not to forget a deck and cabin that is hermetically sealed from water – all welded deck fittings and no through-hull bolts.
Once you’ve had a strong targa like mine, you’re spoilt. Every day you sling a rope around it for some purpose, lower a dinghy – or as the kids of a friend: dive from it! Installations go there – antennae, wind genny, a radar, EPIRB. A bosun’s hook tucks in.
I am impressed with all X-Yachts. This is very individual, but if I should have a reservation about them (and all of their type) it is that they give you some
extra performance but not enough. If your focus is regatta, they fit right in. If you enjoy fast sailing, why not go all out and really notice the speed?
The Ovni is adequate and can be fun; a friend recorded a max of 11,6 knots on his maiden voyage in a 365. I count averages
of 5-6 knots long distance and become very impatient if it drops below 5 knots. 9 knots downwind on Genoa goes well, and a Gennaker fills in the gap. In most conditions you’re talking 1-2 knots more in X-38, but in heavy seas probably less. Sometimes when we judge sailboats, we rely too much on optimal wind, and they are after all not the rule. You spend a lot of time out there...