We are currently living aboard a Southerly 105 in the Med and would recommend it as a choice. The internal layouts are similar on both the 105 and the 110 but the 110/115 are slightly larger and have better sailing abilities than their older sister.
You didn't say how many people were planning to cruise but the layout works well for a couple even with a pair of rugrats along for the ride.
Please feel free to PM me if I can be of any assistance.
Hi Mike, I think he will be back in Barca on the 10th. We went to look at a 115 on Thursday before I left for the US and we quite liked it. I have a few issues with it, but as an alternative, it could be a workable boat for the two of us with occasional visits fron one or two of the kids at times.
I think the couple nearly opposite us have a westerly - but as its only got one hull I cant really tell the difference unless it has a name on it. But that certainly seems to ring a bell. Theres is quite well layed out and works for them as a livaboard. If they are still there when i get back around the 18th I will ask then pm you.
Although we're not, right now, we basically live onboard Grehan and she's a Mk1 Southerly 115. We have taken her from Poole through France and we're now parked up in Marbella's fishing harbour (the fishing bit is only half true nowadays).
Would recommend 115s to anyone. Great boats.
Loads of information on our website. Pleased to (try to) answer any questions.
PhilipH - have you test sailed the Ovni 395 or any others? We have a Sadler 34 which is a pleasure to sail, but as we are thinking about going a little bigger one of the ranges we are considering is the Ovni. But we don't want to compromise on sailing performance. The Sadler isn't a racer but it is sweet to sail - do you know how the Ovni performs? Thanks!
Ovnis are super long distance cruising boats, and very robust. However if performance is your priority, you might be a little disappointed. Because there is no ballasted keel, the boat has to have a lot more ballast in the hull for stability - hence the displacement is quite high for the length. Also, the centreboard is unprofiled, and does not grip as well (particularly in light winds) as a fully profiled centreboard. With a relatively small centreboard and only a single rudder, the sail area is immediately limited. All these features add up to a performance defecit over a fin keel boat.
The latest generation of Rob Humphrey designed Southerly's are rather nice designs and get around some of these disadvantages - the centreboard is ballasted cutting down overall displacement, it is nicely profiled, it is also deeper than a fin-keeler, and the boat has twin rudders which give it a decent amount of grip. I would bet that the latest generation of Southerly's go to windward (in 15knots plus) better than a lot of fin keelers because of the very deep high aspect ratio centreboard (though they would struggle in light winds where the added hull ballast will penalise them). The latest Southerly's can also carry a fair amount of canvas as the twin rudders give more grip.
If you are in the market for a 395, another range you might consider is the Hermines by Technimar (www.technimar.com), designed byt Francois Lucas. They are similar in concept to the latest generation Southerlys with deep, profiled and ballasted centreboard and twin rudders, but have the added advantage (or disadvantage depending on your point of view!) of being built of aluminium.
As Ric says, the Ovni range is not designed to be particularly racy - they are made to go long distances and get you there in good shape! My father has an Ovni 385, which is a lovely cruising boat, the 50cm draft being an obvious advantage around the South Coast. Ovni's are not great sailing close to windward, due to the small centreplate; We rarely try to go closer than 35-40 degrees, although we are not super keen racing sail trimmers! (a much more relaxed cruising family).
Southerlys are not really direct competitors for the Ovni, being made in a totally different way with different features. The Southerlys need 2 rudders so they can dry out properly - Ovni's have a hydraulic lifting rudder that is easily raised so the boat can sit on it's bottom. A benefit of the Ovni centreplate is the simple mechanism used to raise and lower it (ropes!), as opposed to the motorised Southerly. For long distance cruising, this might provide more peace of mind, a rope being easier to replace than an electric motor.
Photos of centreplate/rudder on an Ovni can be found in the FAQ section of my website(address below).
From just about the earliest types Southerlies have had a big cast iron 'grounding plate' through which pivots the cast iron keel, which is very heavy. The boats have almost as much stability keel-up as they do keel-down. Although upwind sailing performance and leeway is quite obviously significantly affected, keel-up. However, keel-up they will go downwind beautifully just like a sailing dinghy with its daggerboard up. Keel down (1.8m - or more on the 135 and bigger) they are stable and sail extremely well (they're obviously not racers). People find that the keel about three-quarters down gives excellent results - in that position the keel is at its 'longest' (good tracking) whilst still giving more than enough 'grip' to sail close. This is what JJ found when he did a test report for Y-M or S-T some years ago.
Their internal layout and semi-pilot house design is another big attraction - for us, anyway. Very well thought out and practical from both voyaging and living-aboard points of view. Whatever you might think about the crazy politics behind it and all the rest of the nonsense surrounding it, the millennium dome is a beautiful building i.m.h.o, brought in on-time and on-budget. The architect was Mike Davis (one of Richard Rogers' partners) and he has a Southerly.
Whilst later designs have twin rudders, earlier smaller Southerlies had lifting rudders, and our mk1 "Grehan" has a large single rudder, wide but obviously not deep so as not to compromise settling on the ground. Grehan steers just fine for us but it is probable that the later designs, with twin rudders, are an improvement and that's why the change was made. Grehan does not spin around, manouevring in marinas, like fin-keel fin-rudder boats (especially in reverse) but that's only to be expected and one learns . . . Being able to dry out on the beach, being able to go shallow (Grehan draws about 0.75m keel-up) is terrific.
Early Southerlies had 'wind-up' keels but from what I've seen from other owner reports, this is not as convenienent (obviously) nor as practical as the hydraulic (not motorised) mechanism that boats have had for decades now. The combination of pivoting keel and hydraulics has proven itself to be highly reliable over the years and that's our experience too. It's great to be able to adjust ones draft and characteristics easily from the cockpit. And safe and practical too. If the electrics were to fail (failure is rare, but ones batteries might be flat for some reason) (we've never had a failure, and we nearly always 'adjust' when motoring) then the hydraulic pump can be worked by hand.