We recently interviewed the Ted and Jen the owners of the newly launched Ohana. Ted and Jen are just starting their new life living aboard so we asked them about their decision to pursue this new lifestyle.
CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT THE NEW LIFE YOU CHOSE, TO LIVE ON A BOAT, TO SAIL AROUND WITH THE GIRLS?
TED: Well, it’s something we have wanted to do since about a decade ago and it was on our last boat, at that time we were working full time both of us and were spending a couple of weekends and months on the boat and liked it but didn’t like the fact that we had to bring the boat back to port and go back to our jobs. So we figured that if we saved our money and switched things around so we weren’t working any more, we could spend all the time on the boat and it would be much better. So then we started to look for a boat to do that, and then these two came along (their daughters) and we needed a bigger boat. So we finally settled on the Antares. We made that decision over four years ago.
WHICH WAS YOUR FIRST BOAT, OR YOUR PREVIOUS BOAT?
TED: It was a Hunter, an American made boat. It’s a 44 foot sloop rigged boat. It was named Dream Catcher. It had a very similar rig to the Antares. It was an inmast firling selden sloop rig boat, it was nice for California.
WHY DID YOU CHOOSE A CAT, AND WHY ANTARES?
JEN: The catamarans we chartered, actually 3 different ones, were more to my liking. I liked that there wasn’t the healing, especially knowing that we had kids on board and knowing that we were going to be homeschooling, I just wanted more stability and more space.
I have always been a diehard monohulled person all my life and when I was in residency training for emergency medicine, one of my attending’s had just gotten back from doing this and he had an Amel 54 foot French boat. He sailed that boat for 5 years in the Caribbean and said he had a lot of fun doing it. He said that the next time he would do it with a catamaran and I thought, why on earth would you want a catamaran? They will flip over. But he told me, they changed and there’s a lot of space on them and for what you do when you are living aboard a boat there’s really nothing better. And so I started looking at catamarans. I think that if you have a monohulled background or are attracted to boats that are very functional or good at sea, then you should start looking at catamarans. You will see that there are not so many catamarans that fit that niche and the more we started looking, the more we realized that Antares was the only choice.
WHY YOU THINK IT’S THE BEST?
TED: Safety, more than anything else. The boat is built very, very well. It is very solid and the design is phenomenal. I mean, my hats off to Ted Clemens for the way this boat is set up. From the bulkhead and all the structure, I could tell that he knew what he was doing. It was a very solid and a very well thought design in every little detail, from the angle of the steps and the sugar scoops, where everything is placed, the engines being central, the shaft drive. Several years ago, we were looking at another boat which shall remain unnamed. While we were talking to him, the guy answered a phone call from one of their boats that had just launched. It had lost the rudder! I’m thinking “Oh that’s terrible, how did you lose a rudder?” He said they were in the harbor and they hit a log. This is like 4 knots when they hit the log and it took out the rudder? That’s not what I want to have happen to us! A lot of the other catamarans are very fragile. Nobody else has a skegged rudder. So, the skegged rudder was a big deal too. And having a wind shield, an enclosed cockpit, having the whole thing set up so it can be single handed, so this way one of us can sail the boat and the other one can be with the kids. It doesn’t require both of us to do it.
JEN: Even from a safety standpoint, if something happens to one of us, the other one could take care of the boat and bring it to port and wouldn’t have trouble doing that alone so just the safety more than anything. It’s so well built and on top of that, beautiful.
If you look, I guess a good gauge if you are going to pick a boat to go around the world a good gauge is looking in foreign ports and see what kind of boats you see there. The boat that we used to have, the hunter are not designed for Fiji for example, the same with Leopard Catamarans they are the ones that you see in the Caribbean for the cruising, these are catamarans that are designed for a charter and are not designed for crossing oceans so you don’t see them. There is recently 4 Antares catamarans in New Zealand, next to each other and if you look at the number of Antares that are out there the percentage of those that are out actually navigating or doing very long trips, is a big number.
HOW WAS THE EXPERIENCE OF GOING TO ANTARES TO BUY A BOAT AND THEN HAVING THE BOAT BEING BUILT BY US?
JEN: It was hard in a way to have it so far from home, but having pictures sent often and you have always been very receptive to phone calls and emails, it made it much easier. The fact that we could both come see the factory and see where it was built and follow along the process made it easy. We were able to come a couple of times so I thought it was a very easy process and with Sancho helping us choosing the options, it was a very smooth process by being 8 thousand miles away.
TED: I think there is no arguing that the distance for American boat buyers could be an issue but the other thing is that for people who can buy a boat with this price range, it’s not a problem to get in an airplane and come down. For me not speaking Spanish was an issue but all of you in the factory were very patient, that was a huge help for me. That was my biggest concern, going to a country where I don’t speak the language, how am I going to get along, get a taxi, be able to talk about the boat; and that became very easy, you all do a phenomenal job with communicating and making sure that people get comfortable and understand what is going on.
JEN: You were very patient with questions and what I said at the beginning was very true, the feeling that the boat was made by a family I like.
HOW WAS IT WHEN YOU CAME TO LOOK FOR THE BOAT, THE COMMISSIONING TIME, SEEING THE BOAT COMING OUT OF THE BOAT YARD, STEPPING THE MAST?
TED: It was exciting, stressful, but in the end it was exactly what we wanted. For us it’s not just buying a boat, it’s a life style change. From both working full time, kids going to school, living in a house, the typical American rat race to selling our house, selling our career, move our stuff to Colorado, sold one of our cars and kind of getting rid of everything. Packed up 20 boxes, got on an airplane and went to a new country. That has been an overwhelming experience. It has been difficult at times, especially for me because of the language more than anything else, but this is what we want to do, see the world and this is what is all about, taking a risk and taking a leap of faith to get something that you want.
JEN: And the commissioning process, we bought a new boat before so we are familiar with all the little things that you need to keep and I’m impressed with how much everybody worked through the problems like especially the wire ALGO. I never once felt like someone said “well sorry it’s not our problem” even little things like getting get from the airport with our huge number of boxes. But the commissioning process itself has been good, it’s just the slow method of taking care of each problem and make sure it’s what you want, as best as can be done. Being reasonable of what can be done and what can’t. Everybody has been good about helping us fix whatever had to be fixed and also making sure that they helped us solve anything else.
TED: That actually is a good point because we went through the commissioning process over our last boat and there were some items that hadn’t been fixed, one of them was the companion way door, there were double doors in the companion way and they never closed right, you had to force it close and it was not supposed to be that way. Hunter doesn’t have that kind of relationship you do where the company that builds the boat sells the boat and they have sales people doing it and so there is a whole bunch of other company’s around USA that would sell a hundred boats or catamarans, all these companies are the same kind of thing and since they don’t have the responsibility of building the boat in the first place, when it’s not an easy fix they just wash their hands out of it and say they can’t do anything about it. Whereas when you built the boat you can address problems a lot better because you know, the responsibility is with you and you know how to do it so there is any no resolved issues, so that experience with our last boat was very different from this, like if every little thing that we pointed out not a problem. I’ve been impressed the last week with what happened on the boat, very, very impressed.
Between the Antares universities that we went to and then you going through the boat with us again last weekend We feel we have a good understanding of everything on the boat. One example is, we lost power last night and I was able to go and trouble shoot 14.30 and got to a point where I still didn’t know why, so Ted did the rest, but I feel very comfortable knowing because we’ve been taught through the boat.
DO YOU KNOW THAT ANTARES IS AROUND THE WORLD ARE LIKE A COMMUNITY, MOST OF THE OWNERS ARE IN TOUCH WITH THE OTHER AND THEY KNOW EACH OTHER, THEY KNOW WHERE THEY ARE, WHAT THEY DO, HOW THEY FIX SOMETHING, AND HOW THEY IMPROVE SOMETHING IN THE BOAT? DO YOU THINK THAT IS IMPORTANT? ARE YOU IN CONTACT WITH THESE PEOPLE?
JEN: We are in contact indirectly, there’s apparently a website that we are still not on yet, a closed group but we are in touch with the Silverstein’s, I was put in touch them who had purchased a used PDQ (early Antares) because of the kids and the homeschooling and they were really receptive to my questions about how do you do this, what works with not having internet everywhere. Also with the recent buyers we’ve been in touch with.
TED: All the people that were caught in a pickle, all know each other.
JEN: But then Jason Shell reached out to us gave us some suggestions, so I think it is very much a community.
TED: Well I think another good point is that you can talk to some of the older owners and items that were issues for them have all been addressed, it’s like the boat changes with every splash and it gets better and better. How many boat companies do that? They take the advice of their owners and actually make the changes, that’s a huge deal. That the evolution that has made this boat so good.
THREE TO FIVE BOATS IN THE FUTURE, WILL BE BETTER THAN THIS ONE
TED: Yes, it will be, well have to come back and buy another one.
BOTH MARK AND SARAH ARE PLANNING TO COME BACK TO BUENOS AIRES AND ALSO HELEN, JUST TO HAVE A REFIT ON THE BOAT, TO FIX EVERYTHING BEFORE GOING NORTH AGAIN SO THEY CAN GO WITH A NEARLY NEW BOAT
AS A BOAT YARD WE ARE IN CONTACT WITH MOST OF THE OWNERS AND WE ARE HELPING THEM WITH SMALL THINGS THAT HAPPEN AND TAKING NOTES OF THE IMPROVEMENTS, WE THINK THAT IS IMPORTANT
TED: Yes, absolutely. It’s the evolution that makes the boat so good. That is a huge deal.
Some builders could say “I hear what you are saying but I don’t care” and I don’t get that feeling at all with you, I feel it continues to improve.
WHAT DO YO FEEL ABOUT LEAVING SCHOOL, YOUR FRIENDS AND CHANGING YOUR LIFE?
JEN: I keep in contact with my friends. I’m not so much a social person, I prefer having one good friend that a lot of them, so it was not so hard, as it is for Grace who has more friends.
It was really hard to leave our old house because it’s been our home since always but to be honest it was really good to be leaving the hot and being in a place where I can swim every day.
I’m very excited for what is coming –
GRACE: I was so used to the school and all of my friends that in because of all the stress that packing put us through, before I thought it was for nothing but now I feel better.
JEN: I think once we start actually sailing and all the unpacking is over, Grace will embrace it.
The boat is beautiful, I love it, it’s better than our house but smaller although its bigger than what I imagined. We expected we were going to have time with our parents all the time but that will happen later-
The sleep here it amazing, I never slept so well-