Kurt Hansen 9/7 Year of the Plague

A Viper to his end in 2016. Kurt was the only man I always kissed on the lips. He, like several others (like Tom) contributed significant champagne bubbles to my life.

A lifeguard, a pilot, a vet, a very successful salesman, a NY Harbor ferry captain. While he cruised 40' sailboats he bother to get a Coast Guard License so when he retired early from Reuters he was a NY Harbor ferry captain. His was one of the NY ferryboats out there when the jet glided to a safe landing in the Hudson.

I met him and the other Vipers as new members at Port Washington Yacht Club. Back in the 80s yacht clubs on Long Island had waiting lists and Port Washington, just outside the City was 20 minutes from our NYC home. Hussey, Ilberg, Moretti, Shea, Jawski, Hansen and us were “same year” new members in the early 80s. Members formed cliques – frequently happens with “same year” people, we bonded - looking for a group and we had same-age young children.

We eventually formed a formal group, the Vipers. Limited membership, pennants, Viper watches. We used the auto alarm company's viper logo. Had an annual award dinner at the club – by invitation only. Drove older members crazy. And drunken raftups all the time.

We did a Viper 4th of July Block Island cruise. The 4th parade on Block is total camp – an Uncle Sam on stilts. The day ending with a chicken dinner run by the Fire Department. Kurt & Mary's 2 kids (JP and Abby) & Devin & Ilberg's 2 & Shea's 3 formed the kiddy core of the Vipers along with booze. And don't forget sailboats.

Every day for a couple weeks we would bring the families across the island from the Salt Pond to the State Beach. And Kurt and I would walk a mile to downtown, have a long drink and bring food back to the others.

Kurt owned/captained the sailboat Kia Ora. On Kia Ora we did the Halifax Race. Very exciting spinnaker race. A shroud shook out of its fitting on the first day – luckily a quick tack took the pressure off the mast saving it. Sailing up the coast of Nova Scotia with a good breeze and a big spinnaker. Thru two nights. Then into Halifax. The biggest harbor.

Nova Scotia is another world – we shared the mooring field at the Royal Nova Scotia Yacht Squadron with pilot whales. The sailors wait a few days for the slowest boats to finish and parties and dancing and awards. The event of the summer for Halifaxians (very short summer) – Nova Scotia is empty. Nobody lives there. I once heard that the population had it's max during the Revolutionary War. The biggest population was a bump as Loyalists from the radical revolutionary states fled the US as we broke away from the King. So Nova Scotia's population has gone down since 1776. I'm told? They are the friendliest people but I was aware that Winter was about 9 months long.

Bringing the boat back we stopped at Shelburne - down Nova Scotia's rocky coast. Miles deep still with structures from the Second World War. Massive convoys used to form in these harbors as we supplied England and Russia to defeat Hitler. Had a yacht club The yacht club had 3 members.

On our trip back, John F. Kennedy Jr. crashed his small plane somewhere off Martha's Vinyard. We were on the lookout for it. July 16, 1999.

Kurt was a serious pilot, on the water and in the air. We said a prayer for the young Kennedy. But Kurt always had his wits about him. Always knew where we were. But more important than his stallworth addition to the Viper fleet, was his “life is a party” which he often arranged. Without him I would have had less living & less deep unfettered loving.