From The Owner's Corner

Antares has worked hard to deliver new boats that are fully loaded and circumnavigation ready. The good news is that even when purchasing a used Antares, those systems can easily be updated to today's technology if needed. Russell Gray, s/v Leap of Faith, has offered to share his experience on ease of accessing systems for maintenance, upgrading etc. In his words...

We have all heard the saying that cruising on a boat is really nothing more than fixing things in exotic locations…. While I sit here on my Antares Catamaran in the Spanish Virgin Islands in February, sun shining, 81 degrees, I can attest that this is partially true. The wind is blowing a bit and as I sip my latte, made from our espresso machine and eat a fresh scone my wife made in the electric convection air fryer, I am mentally going over the list of things that I still need to complete on the boat. It is not a big list, I have completed most of the larger jobs / tasks that I wanted to get done, but there is always a list, it truly never gets fully completed.

I chose the Antares Catamaran for a myriad of reasons, but in the top ten was the ability and general ease with which it was to work on things. I cannot express how important this. Ease of system access has enabled us to make our boat as comfortable as possible while living "off grid". We have increased the solar array from 900W to 1800W, changed our battery bank from FLA (Float Lead Acid) to Lithium, added a class B AIS transmitter (with new GPS receiver), add soft starts to our port and starboard AC units just to name a few. This does not include the things that I needed to fix on our boat as well. Yes, fix. Any boat, new or old will have systems that need fixing.

Here are a couple of examples where the ease of access on the Antares Catamaran made it a much easier project. When we decided to upgrade our boat from FLA to Lithium batteries, the accessibility of the systems made this a much easier task. The batteries themselves are housed in a battery box which is located just forward the salon at the base of the mast. It is simple to lift the batteries out of this compartment and place the new batteries in there. Look at some other boats and see where the house bank batteries might be. We then needed to change some of the electrical configuration to support charging lithium batteries. Again, a process made much easier since I was able to quickly access the mppt controllers and the inverter / charger. Additionally, I was able to add a DC / DC charger, new bus bars and the associated wiring to the existing configuration without tearing the interior of the boat apart. Everything was accessible via opening or removable panels.

For the new AIS system, I needed to run a new gps wire from the helm station area to the cockpit roof. First, you can get to all of the instruments, throttles and steering system via an access panel behind the helm station in the salon. I can’t tell you how many time Kelly, my wife, has found me with my head stuck in there checking, upgrading or just looking at systems. Anyway, from there the cable needed to run along the salon roof and then up into the cockpit roof. I was able to accomplish this since all the overhead panels in the salon are removable. There was then a stainless-steel support pipe which allowed the wire to be routed up to the cockpit. Then in the cockpit, there is another access panel that comes down so you can route wires. This all made things much easier.

You would think that this would be standard on most boats, right?? While this may not seem like a big thing, it is. Listen around and you will hear some horror stories of what other boaters may have had to go through doing a similar job on other models of boats…So, when you are looking for a boat, look to make sure that it has accessibility to not just critical systems, but all systems. The Antares has been well thought out, here are some examples:
  • 1. All ceiling panels and trim are removable to access wire ways and lighting components.
  • 2. Duct work has been added to enable lengthwise and crosswise system wires.
  • 3. Access panes are cut in strategic areas for ease of access to systems behind the finished panels.
  • 4. Floorboards and support members are removable to open access into the engine area as well as the area for plumbing / through hulls / filters and bilges.
  • 5. Electrical panels / Inverters and bus work are all easily accessible via panels.
  • 6. Running rigging going through the bridgedeck duct has multiple access points.
  • 7. Last but not least, the extensive system documentation that comes with an Antares Catamaran gives you guidance and direction on where systems are and how they should be run.
Thanks for sharing Russell!