Number 6

22 December - 28 December 2003

Dear Friends and Supporters,


We no longer have USA cell phone service. All communication to us must be:
1) via phone message left on our Saugerties, NY phone (845 246 0131 - these should reach us within one week - please state clearly if the matter is urgent and our sons, Brett and Ben, will make every effort to contact us at the first opportunity)
2) via e-mail at (we will hopefully be able to get e-mail at every landfall - please text messages only [not HTML messages], no attachments or images)
3) via the "Contact Us" page on our web site at (the comment section is limited to just 256 characters -- we will have access to the Internet less often than simple e-mail.)
4) via postal mail sent to our Saugerties address -- Kip, Arden and Jon Hansen, The Family-to-Family Project, 153 Malden Tpke, Saugerties, NY 12477.   Mail is forwarded to us periodically. Any mail sent after this e-mail will not be forwarded to us until we have arrived in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. This may be a month or so.


We are heading out across the Gulf Stream to Bimini in the Bahamas at the first opportunity after the 30th of December. We must wait for the right "weather window" (combination of wind direction and sea conditions, over a three day period). We will be out of touch from the sending of this e-mail until we arrive in Nassau, Bahamas about five to seven days later. Our sons, Brett and Ben, in Saugerties will know when we have safely arrived.


28th December. We had a lovely warm Christmas aboard the Golden Dawn, with none of the trappings of the modern "Christmas Holiday". The Christmas cards many of you sent decorated our "mantel" and a single green Norfolk pine branch stood in for the tree, wreaths, and holly boughs.

We have spent many days stocking the boat and finishing up projects necessary to prepare the boat for the high seas. The high seas are a totally different proposition to what we have sailed to date -- the Intercostal Waterway and coastal waters in sight of land. To this point, we have never been so far from land that we could not have jumped in the dinghy and motored to land that we could see with our naked eyes. From here on out, if anything goes wrong we will be dependant on our 8-man SOLAS class life raft (supplied at a discount by Sea Safety International of Secaucus, NJ), the compass and hand-held GPS and our knowledge of the seas. But we don't expect anything that bad. Minor discomforts perhaps.

Just as we were about to cancel our Verizon cell phone account (no good where we go), it slipped out of its little holster into the bottom of the dinghy where it soaked in salt water for fifteen minutes before being discovered. RIP little cell phone. See IMPORTANT NOTE above.

We are confident that we are prepared to cross the Gulf Stream (often a nasty piece of water if one doesn't pay attention to the weather before setting out) and begin the foreign part of our trip. Tomorrow we will get the electronic charts for the Caribbean, our last step before heading out.

We have rigged a new element in our sail set up, a combination "whisker pole" and "spinnaker pole", which will allow us to sail "downwind" with more control and safety, using our genoa or spinnaker sails. This pole holds the "corner" of the sail out away from the boat so the sail can "catch more air". The life raft is mounted on the bow under the roller-furler for the headsail.

We will have two mapping GPS systems, paper charts, compasses (binnacle and hand-held as well as the fluxgate compass in the autopilot), and our wits to see us across the blue ocean to the Bahamian Banks (not the financial kind, but really the flatten tops of sea mountains just 2-20 feet below the surface of the sea).

Jonathan should be giving a report on his dinghy project below, so I will only say that designing and finding all the important parts has been quite an adventure and absorbed a fair amount of time.

Arden has stocked up the "pantry" and there is lots of food aboard that might be not available when we arrive in the DR.

God bless you all, we'll touch base with you in a couple (or three) weeks.


Slowly cutting the last ties to good ole USA.Hopefully we will stay connected to our important people like you.Gave up our borrowed car, ruined the cell phone in water and soon we'll be out of sight of land. I am eager to get on to our destination and contact our brothers and sisters in the DR. My piano is very lonely under a blanket in the forward cabin and would like a stable place to start playing again.

Hard to believe that in the middle of all this Jonathan is building a sailboat on the forward deck out of an old dinghy we picked up for him from someone's back yard. It came complete with ants and a gecko!He in renovating the whole thing and will soon have his own little sail boat. I love the enthusiasm .It amazes me what these guys can do.

I am getting good at bathing from a bucket, wearing the same clothes and washing dishes. (I've had a dishwasher for so long...)I like to get up to see the sunrise before everyone else is up and pay my devotions to our Father in Heaven. We continue to rely on his inspiration and power to do this work.

Words do not come easily nowadays. I move silently amidst the water and sky, the wind and air- my new friends.There is a gentle peace in this kind of living even tough everything is inconvenient and requires work.We are free to come and go as the spirit moves us (or the wind) and so far have been able to overcome all obstacles.Although we are not "snowbirds" - those cruising warm waters to run from the colder North- I admit the warm breezes and sunshine are very lovely. More tales to tell later.


(Jonathan is happy re-building, re-rigging, sail-making, mast-making, sanding and painting, all on and for his new "old dinghy")

Our best wishes to you all, Let us hear from you,

The Hansens

Kip, Arden, and Jonathan Hansen


The Family-to-Family Project c/o Kip and Arden Hansen 153 Malden Tpke Saugerties, NY 12477

(845) 246 0131 (home - messages)


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