With the sort-of opening of Cuba to US travel, not one but two different race organizers have planned regattas to the island that time forgot. We don’t know much about the Conch Republic Cup other than that it’s from Key West to Cuba; frankly when we got to the silly entry fees of $1000 plus $200 per each crew member for a 90-mile race, we quit reading.
Meanwhile, there’s a comparatively low-cost option ($500 entry fee) run by folks with a real track record, and we fully expect this one to attract well over 100 boats in its inaugural outing, and it’s a more attractive course to boot; here’s some info on the Miami-Havana Race from our friends over at SORC. Organizers are answering questions in the threads here and here.
For the better part of several decades, the phrase “Miami to Havana” usually involved delivery of a less-than-congenial message or thought. The sailors who compete in the Inaugural Miami to Havana Race on February 10, 2016, will bring along the spirit of competition and friendship, seeking to re-establish ties that once allowed Cuban sailors to compete alongside Americans in the area’s great ocean racing events on boats like Criollo, winner of the 1957 Southern Ocean Racing Conference.
The Coral Reef Yacht Club will host the pre-race festivities on February 9, with a Skipper’s Meeting and Pre-race Party scheduled for that evening at the club. The race will start the next day, just off of the Miami harbor entrance, proceeding to Marina Hemingway, leaving all marks of the Florida Keys to starboard, and providing a true navigator’s challenge, to decide when to cross the Gulfstream. If you have ever raced across the Stream, you know that this will result in a healthy mix of “heroes and zeros”, as boats pick whether to cross early or late, instead of playing follow-the-leader in a straight line drag race. The “right” time to cross will never be in the same place twice.
The Hemingway International Yacht Club of Cuba will manage the finish and post-race festivities in Cuba, as well as a coastal race to Morro Castle and back, along Havana’s famed Malecón, with members of a new generation of Cuban sailors assigned to each participating boat, on February 14. An awards party will follow, that evening. Race committee is provided by SORC Race Management, who is counting the race as the final score in its four-race Islands in the Stream Series. Come south and enjoy the warm water and the warm welcome, along with the quality offshore racing you have come to expect from SORC.