Developments in 3D software and computer capabilities gave us the ability to efficiently construct a virtual model of the Antares catamaran. This gave us the ability to evaluate the functionality and aesthetics of a wide variety of configurations and concepts. The model was more accurate and informative than mechanical drawings and complements modern manufacturing processes.
A 3D visual representation of the whole vessel or selected components was developed within seconds and then rotated for inspection from all angles. A virtual person was placed on the model to ensure that ergonomic issues were correctly assessed.
While taking advantage of innovations, the Antares design team established certain target characteristics to maintain the Antares flavour:
- good performance under sail or power;
- comfort underway and at anchor;
- a feeling of continuity and community in the boat’s public spaces
primary safety through professionally engineered structures and manageable sail-handling gear, plus
- secondary safety through watertight bulkheads and energy-dissipating structures
Catamaran Hull Form
The hull has a narrow waterline beam to maximize performance. The sections aft are designed to support the full aft cabin configuration with buttock lines that run out at a milder angle. This produces a faster, better supported hull. The resultant slight submergence of the very narrow transoms is not a significant drag factor, especially as the water leaves cleanly at moderate speeds. The stem has been given only a mild rake angle in order to maximize waterline length and useful interior space within the length parameter.
From a fine entry at the waterline, the bows are mildly flared upward to provide wider drier deck areas forward. The keel and rudder are designed using N.A.C.A. sections selected for their stall and drag characteristics. The chosen draft gives a good balance of windward ability with freedom to enter shallow anchorages or to let the boat tide over for bottom cleaning or minor maintenance. And by concentrating the major masses such as tanks and engines close to amidships, we reduce pitching and ensure that the boat can rise up and over waves with undiminished speed.
The accommodations of the Antares were largely set by three desirables:
- a bridge deck 30 inches above the loaded waterline (for wave clearance under sail);
- 16 inches of unobstructed walkway in the side decks; and
- queen-size mattresses in the aft cabins.
By keeping the hull floors within 30 inches of the bridgedeck height, we were able to maintain a feeling of airiness in the hulls as well as providing an integrated and open layout arrangement.
The opportunities for light and air in this vessel have been given full rein. There is a view forward from the dining table, while those in the aft cabins have a view aft from their beds.
Cockpit, Deck & Rig
It has been remarked that most sailors live primarily on a boat, rather than in a boat, so considerable energy was devoted to the Antares catamaran’s upperworks. As with the earlier boats, Antares cockpit has a hard bimini which mounts the main traveller and 2 solar panels (enough to supply a large portion of the vessel’s electrical requirements) and this is fitted for various canvas configurations up to a full enclosure. The cockpit seats flank a removable 6-place dining table. Access to the boat is through a sliding, tempered-glass door. The cockpit sole continues at one level to the aft deck; steps descend the transoms to an oversize step for swimming and dinghy boarding.
We have watched as advances in electronics enabled Antares owners to transfer navigational functions to the helm. Accordingly, the Antares catamaran helm area was shaped to accommodate a range of electronic navigational devices. A double-width seat, requested by many, is included. Running rigging is led from the mast, under the bridgedeck and back up to winch pedestals at the helm (self-tacking jib and main sheets) and on the aft deck (halyards). The pedestals can mount electric winches if desired. This layout is very convenient to access, and clears the deck of lines, increasing safety for those on deck. Genoa sheet winches can be fitted on the aft cabin tops. A large volume of stowage is provided under the cockpit and the aft deck for bicycles, outboard motors and a life raft.
The rig is a fractional configuration of anodized spars by Selden Spars, carrying a main of 616 sq. ft., a self tacking jib of 248 sq. ft. and an optional genoa of 410 sq. ft. Power is two shaft-drive diesels. Space is provided for air-conditioning and generator installations.
The anchor rode and windlass will stow in the fore part of the bridge deck. A bridle system on the bows will prevent “hunting” at anchor.
We are pleased with the way the vessel has taken shape and we sense a unique character that we know will provide great satisfaction to its designers, builders and most especially, to the owners.