“We’re a family of 6 + dog (Jäger) & cat (Meister). We’ve owned a boat for over 14 years but sold our 6,800 sq foot home, cars and most belongings in spring 2021 to liveaboard a 1986 70’ Hattaras LRC while homeschooling, working remotely & seeking adventure. “

Changing Course, Hatteras 70’

Interview with the Captain – Kristen Kaplan

About the Boat

Why did you choose to buy this particular boat and what else did you consider?
We explored trawlers – Flemings, Grand Alaskan, Grand Banks, & Selene. Size, redundancy of systems, safety were all key considerations. We love boats with classic lines, wanted something that was very seaworthy and had space to sleep and homeschool 4 kids, plus 2 adults working virtually full time and a cat and dog. We also looked intentionally for something fuel efficient. Our goal with this adventure was to slow down and enjoy the ride before our kids are grown. The pandemic taught us to be grateful for each day and to make the most of our short time on this planet.

What boats have you previously owned?
1996 33′ Tiara
2006 45′ Silverton

What are the features you like most about your boat?
  • Enclosed Fly bridge: It wasn’t a must have but will be going forward. It’s kept us comfortable year-round in both hot and cooler temps and provided so much additional space for remote working, homeschooling and 11-year old’s violin practice.
  • Portuguese Bridge: Kristen was adamant the boat had to have a Portuguese Bridge to ensure kids and animals stay onboard when out on the ocean. We –including the kids – are the crew so it’s also provided piece of mind when they’re manning lines in and out of ports.
  • Watermaker: It can produce 900 gallons per day! That combined with 2 generators makes us self-sufficient for days.
  • Wheelhouse: We typically prefer to steer from the flybridge to enjoy the outdoors, but the pilot house has become a valuable “office” and “school” space for the 2 captains and Will (age 13).
  • Full galley: this is the first boat we’ve owned with a full fridge and oven. Kap and Will love to cook, so it’s been well utilized.
  • Two 6-71 N Detroit Diesel engines: our first diesel boat. Incredibly reliable and easy to address any issues that arise without having to call for help.
  • Naiad 252 series Stabilizers with upgraded 9 Sq. foot fins: They’ve minimized rolling which has helped with little kids and animals on board.
  • Lewmar 176 Lb. Claw anchor and Mantus Bridal: Oh my gosh, we could hug them. When we set the anchor it SETS and we rest easy.

What features/improvements have you added or do you plan to add?
Refinished all of the external teak, also rebuilt the engine risers. All new black water lines, new water pumps, batteries. New (to us) 7 person dinghy.

Where have you traveled with your boat?
We’re a family of 6 + dog (Jäger) & cat (Meister). We’ve owned a boat for over 14 years but sold our 6,800 sq foot home, cars and most belongings in spring 2021 to liveaboard a 1986 70’ Hattaras LRC while homeschooling, working remotely & seeking adventure. We’d always dreamed of this type of adventure but knew it would have to wait until retirement – that was until our jobs became virtual in 2020. We picked up the boat in southern FL and worked with an incredibly talented training captain, Domonic James (Premium Captains) for nearly two weeks. He trained both Kap and Kristen to captain it. He and the kids also became fast friends making the training even more fun. Over the summer we cruised north to Smithfield, VA (every boater should make the trip there!) just off the Chesapeake Bay in Virginia. In November we headed back down the coast to Ft. Lauderdale and will soon make our way to the Bahamas and then the Keys.

Do you belong to a yacht club/marina or other boating organizations?
Premium Captains Alumni group. Boat US.

What is the biggest challenge you have in servicing your boat?
The size of the boat makes finding haul-outs very challenging (75 tons). Aso, because of the age there have been a LOT of modifications over time to the boat, so tracking the history is necessary to solve a problem. Fortunately, the modifications were made by owners who clearly loved the boat and wanted to see it well maintained well into the future.

Who first introduced you to boating?
For Kristen, it was her Dad, who always had boats. For Rob, really always had an interest since a fisherman, and starting a family made him take the plunge to have something unique they could do together.

Do you have any advice for those looking to buy a boat like yours?
We went with this size because of the size of our family and we’re liveaboard. But average size families can get away with a lot less. Also, older boats can be a great buy, but carefully do your due diligence and be prepared to spend the first 3-5 months just learning your boat’s systems.

What’s the story behind the boat’s name?
Well, we completely did change course! We were stereotypical suburban family with two full time careers and taking on too much. We recognized our priorities had become misaligned with our values. After a lot of prayer, research and discussion, we sold everything and completely changed our lives.

In addition, working from the boat and cruising full time means we’re also constantly changing course due to weather, tides, and more, so we thought the name fit. We joke that with 6 personalities plus pets on board we’re a total “Ship Show”. We definitely don’t have it all figured out but are loving how this trip has pushed our family to become a team and how to prioritize and value the things most important in life.

Any recent boating-related purchase you’ve been enjoying (e.g. product/tool/equipment etc)?
Paddleboards, folding bikes, new dinghy(!). We revamped our teak (gorgeous). But in truth, the boat was in really great shape with great features. Trying to learn how to use our drone right now.

Do you have any other notable resources you use (apps, devices, etc)?
AquaMaps and Bob’s ICW
Bob423’s ICW tracks and his Facebook group
Aquamaps – love the integration with USCG Survey maps and Bob423’s tracks as well as the anchor alarm tool.
Garmin InReach tool to text/share way points when out on the ocean

Check out Changing Course’s recent feature on the Today show here

Click the gallery below for more photos and information about Changing Course or check out her IG at @KaplanShipShow!