American yachts in the Malecon: first fully permitted Florida-Havana regatta set sail on Saturday

Posted: 06-Nov-15 11:58

Last weekend more than 20 sealing sailing boats were involved in this a historical competition, that was mutually approved by governmental authorities from the U.S. and Cuba on April 2015. Organisers have declared that this tournament is the first one to be "fully permitted", and the "major off shore" race in this circuit since 1959.

American yachts in the Malecon: first fully permitted Florida-Havana regatta set sail on Saturday

Regattas between Cuba and United States will become a regular occurrence after more than five decades of total absence. The second race to be held this year took place last Saturday and went from Bayou Chico Channel, in Northwestern Florida, to the Marina Hemingway in Havana.

Over 20 boats were involved in this historical race which received approval by Cuba’s government authorities last April . Organisers of the event from both sides said this tournament was the first to be “fully permitted”, and predicted it would instantly become the “major off shore” race in this circuit since the triumph of Cuban Revolution.

On May, a symbolic competition between Cuban and American athletes took place in the Malecon of Havana. Five teams from each country engaged in a friendly race. On that occasion about one hundred American yachtsmen sailed to the island as part of the Havana Challenge regatta.

It marked the first time in 15 years that American citizens had gotten permission to travel to Cuba on this kind of vessel from the U.S . In 2004 president George Bush prohibited U.S. boats from sailing to Cuba without the prior consent of the Department of Commerce.

But as Cuban-American relations become get progressively less and less hostile, the Pensacola to Havana race taking place today could be considered a milestone for a new era in this traditional competition.

The first Havana Race took place in 1930 and it became yachtsmen’s favourite among many others in the Gulf of Mexico.

Last Saturday modern cruisers, classic cruisers and multihulls, covered a route longer than the original one (584 vs. 248 miles). The contest was recorded under the Gulf Yachting Association’s Performance Handicaps.

The race was also very edgy in terms of technology: spectators were able to follow the trajectory of the yachts online throughout the race.

A friendly competition, similar to the one that took place in May, is programed for today, 6th November, as part of the Pensacola-Havana maritime event and where some of the American participants will meet local sailors. The starting point is the mouth of Havana’s Almendares River and the finish mark is set in the waters of Havana Bay.

One of the Pensacola-Havana competition’s most important sponsors is the Peace family based in Florida, who has a long and well-established history on these kind of sailing races to Cuba. The regatta is also supported by the Pensacola Sports Association, The PYC Satori Foundation and at least other six American organisations and companies.

Organisers have already stated that the next ocean race to Cuba should double the number of boats of this first competition.


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