Who among us has not said ‘Shit, it’s snowing. I’m heading south.” Often, it’s a lot of talk and no action but for some the dream evolves into a reality. Today, Dominic Soave and his boat live more or less permanently in Havana enjoying the weather and Caribbean vibe. Thanks to Barack’s easing relations with Fidel and his merry men, that could be you.
While working in the property and development business in BC during the 1970s, Dominic discovered he really delighted in boats. While most of his pals were powerboat owners, Dom was drawn to sail. He enjoyed having both wind power and an auxiliary engine providing an alternative for no-wind days. He just plain liked the whole boating thing so he acquired a Coronado 24 and parked it at Thunderbird Marina in West Vancouver.
Bitten by the bug in a fairly significant way, Dom then undertook to build a Horizon 37 steel cruiser doing a lot of the work himself. Then, Dom took a huge plunge and bought a Maple Leaf 48 motorsailer. from a friend. Dom also got hooked into racing at Royal Van and found himself crewing on a Santa Cruz 70 in the Victoria-Maui Race.
The other momentous discovery occurred when Dominic first visited Cuba in 1996. He returned and returned and then romance struck hard. The next step brought a Cuban wife back to Vancouver soon a couple of kids joined the scene. But, like boating, Cuba was in Dominic’s blood and in 2010 he decided to move everything back to Havana including the Maple Leaf 48.
In July of 2010 with Dominic and his crew of two sailing buddies aboard, Tenacity IV cast off for its most ambitious passage ever. The first leg took the boat straight down the US coast via a few ports plus some far offshore legs as the weather dictated. In just under a month the Canadians tied up in Puerto Vallarta where Dom waited out the hurricane season.
From PV, Tenacity IV navigated the Pacific coast of Mexico and Central America to Panama. Even for an experienced crew, navigating the Panama Canal is an impressive undertaking and definitely a “harrowing but worthwhile adventure” according to Dom.
From Colon at the eastern terminus of the Canal, the crew headed straight up to Havana completing that portion of the trip on a perfect beam reach with 15-20 knot. Unlike many motorsailers, Dom explains, the Maple Leaf 48 has a fin keel and really sails beautifully. They completed that last portion of the voyage in just four days.
Tenacity IV now lives in Hemingway Marina and Dominic has an apartment nearby. He regularly cruises the area heading up to Florida for a while or over to the Bahamas. He is active in the boating community in both Cuba and Florida, and is pretty well settled into a leisurely life combining his Canadian and Cuban connections. For many of us, talk is cheap. For Dominic it was a lot more than BS bar blather including two months of sailing covering 5,000+ miles and trip through the Panama Canal. Si señor! – Anarchist John.