Ohana Sailing Adventure

Our Boat

The decision as to which boat to buy was one that we labored over for years. In the end, Ohana is exactly what we wanted. She is a 2018 Antares 44i sailing catamaran, built in San Fernando, Argentina, by 40 Grados Sur. They build only 5 Antares a year, and the wait was long, but worth it.

Ohana is 44 feet long and 22 feet wide. Her mast top is 61 feet above the water. She draws just under 4 feet and weighs in at 23,000 pounds. With all of our stuff on board, that is probably more like 26,000 pounds! She has three cabins and two heads. She has a galley with a large refrigerator and freezer, a gas oven, a microwave/convection oven, and a four-burner range. She has both an inside and an outside dinette. We have air-conditioning/heating, hot and cold running water, and fresh water toilets in the heads. We have many of the comforts of home including our computers, flat screen TV’s and BlueRay players, and a stereo.

Many things make this boat special, not the least of which is the fact that she is designed from the ground up for offshore sailing and extended time off the grid. She is built to be self-sufficient and has a 7.5kW diesel generator, 1200W of solar panels, and 1000 Ah AGM house bank batteries plus independent starting batteries for the generator and each of the motors. She has a water maker that produces 43 gallons of fresh water per hour from seawater, and runs on the generator. In tanks, we carry 120 gallons of fresh water and 150 gallons of diesel. She has twin 40hp Volvo-Penta marine diesel engines with folding propellers.

DSC_1509Ohana is powered by the wind, and from her 61-foot mast, she carries a self-tacking jib, a large genoa, a screecher (flat-cut triangular off-wind sail), an asymmetrical spinnaker (parachute-like colorful downwind sail), and a mainsail with in-mast electrical roller furling. One of the things we like about this boat is that even though all of the furling is electrical, the size of the rig is not too large, and we can perform all of the sailing and furling manually if we should lose power for some reason (i.e. a lightning strike). We chose the in-mast roller furling over the traditional slab-reefed main because of ease of use, but also because of the ability to balance the rig between the headsail and the main in very high wind conditions and when heaving-to. She is also designed to be single-handed, so one of us can handle the boat alone if necessary.

The helm is a fantastic array of dials, gauges, and displays that bring all of the information and control needed to sail and navigate the boat to one central location. We have electronic navigation (using GPS), autopilot, weather, wind, tide, current, and depth data at our fingertips. As a backup, we also carry paper charts, multiple independent GPS units, and a sextant (an angle-measuring device for navigating using the sun and the stars). We have radar, AIS, and a FLIR infrared scope for seeing around us at night. AIS is an Automatic Identification System that broadcasts and receives information about ships (ours and those around us), including location, speed, direction, and other data.

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For communications, we have a Wirie-Pro and an Iridium Go satellite phone. The Wirie-Pro is a WiFi extender and a 2G/3G/4G/LTE cell that gives us broadband WiFi on the boat when we are in range of a cell tower.  Iridium Go is a satellite phone that allows us to talk on the phone, text, email, and download weather GRIB files from any place on the surface of the planet. We also have two marine band VHF radios with a range of about 20 nautical miles, and a high-frequency single side band radio (similar to a HAM radio) with an intercontinental range.

For additional safety, Ohana carries a liferaft and an EPIRB (electronic satellite SOS system). Our personal safety gear includes auto-inflate life jackets and harnesses. The life jackets each have an AIS beacon that automatically signals if someone goes overboard. To prevent a man-overboard situation in the first place, we have jack lines, tethers, and harnesses, and strict rules for their usage when offshore. In addition, our lifelines are 1-inch stainless steel tubes bow-to-stern.

To get to and from the shore, we have a 10.5 foot dinghy (a RIB or Rigid Inflatable Boat) that has a 20hp engine and can carry 5 people and their gear. We also have an inflatable SeaEagle 2 person kayak (thank you North Valley Emergency Specialists!!) for exploring the watery world around us.

We will update when we reach Florida and Ohana gets her first stateside makeover, including cork decking in the cockpit, new and longer anchor chain, a floating hookah dive system, and a fancier cold-water liferaft.

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