Sqwerties, I'll give you my comments as an owner of an Antares for nine years.
1. We like our raised seats in the back. The seating capacity has not changed, since there are cushions
and backrest for people sitting below. The primary difference is raised seating, vs. 'same level' seating as the rest of cockpit
Here is photo
of our cockpit
with 13 adults. Notice that everyone is seated at same level...and not using the aft benches. We find guest rarely sit up 'high'...maybe because they are not wanting to look down on their friends.
What we don't like with our current configuration is solar capacity
The full bimini
adds more capacity and is a cleaner look than our setup. I also prefer the unobstructed view from the cockpit aft, sans the stainless steel
arch. There are pros and cons to either approach. Overall I personally like the more open feel of the cockpit aft.
With the full hardtop, the boom has been extended 3ft, 1m aft, increasing sail area for the in-mast furling
system. This increases the sail area.
2. We have two satellite
domes on our arch. We rarely use one (KVH), and now, with Iridium
GO (which we have), we really don't need either dome. I wish our domes were gone, as we don't need them. The satellite antenna
for the Iridium
go is mounted on our first spreader. This is a better and easier location for the antenna
3. I"m not sure about replacing the aft support with Arch. I've sent your questions to Memo, the owner of the yard, and will post a reply shortly.
The bottom line, there are always tradeoffs. As an owner, I love our boat
, but I also like the newer changes in the GS. For me, solar
is key, and that is why I like the larger top for cleaner installs of solar, and better water
collection for watertanks.