Ovni Sailboats: "Alubat has regained the trust of its customers"

Christian Picard, Director of Alubat

New look of the UFOs, growth objectives, recruitment, certification of sailing boats... Christian Picard, director of the Alubat shipyard, gives an update with BoatIndustry.com.

UFO 450, a 1st objective achieved

When asked about the evolution of the Alubat site since its arrival in 2016, Christian Picard, director of the Vendée company, expresses his satisfaction. "We had set ourselves the objective of presenting the UFO 450 at the Grand Pavois 2018 and it is there. The commitment is kept. We delivered 3 units and 7 sailboats were sold. It is the result of a collegial internal work."

UFO 450 under construction at Alubat

Alubat finds positive results again

Beyond the new weighted dinghy model, the whole company took up the challenge of restarting the boat, after having gone through difficult times. "We delivered 12 boats in 2017/2018. The target is 15 this season. Alubat should reach a cruising rate of 20 sailboats per year. Turnover increased by 12% and above all, we have returned to a positive financial result. The team is motivated and our objective of one new boat per year is on track," explains Christian Picard.
In parallel, Alubat has made several recruitments. In particular, the company was able to reintegrate 2 dismissed employees when it was in difficulty, a strong symbol of the restart. It is completing its reorganisation by structuring its design office for which it is looking for a manager.

A rebuilt link with boaters

Beyond the figures, Christian Picard is delighted with the renewed relationship with boaters and the owners' community. "Trust is restored. There is no longer any doubt about the survival of the Alubat shipyard and I no longer have to sign advance payment guarantees to my customers." In partnership with its owners, the yard helped to launch a new Ovni Club website to bring life to a revitalized community that is very attached to the brand.

Future UFO 400 by Alubat

Rejuvenate the range

After UFO 450 in 2018, Alubat plans to launch UFO 400 in 2019 as a successor to UFO 395. Christian Picard justifies his design choices, which contrast with the history of UFO sailboats, by technical and commercial aspects. "Today, 50% of our visitors at trade fairs say they will look for second-hand products on the market. The only solution is to make our new boats more modern to stand out. For the UFO 400, we consulted Marc Lombard and the duo Mortain Mavrikios, who were finally selected. The new regulations make it difficult to certify our small boats in category A. By putting a 1.3T keel in place of our usual daggerboards, we can solve this problem while improving performance. The glass roof makes the boat brighter and more modern and the shallower bi-safrans avoid the lifting system to be able to look good."
When asked about the catamaran project presented in 2017, another area of Alubat's rejuvenation, Christian Picard was cautious. "The tools are ready, but we're waiting for a customer. Building without a customer is a risk. The priority is the sustainability of the site." To renew oneself without rushing, this could summarize Alubat's course of action.

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