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Convoy to set sail for Cuba

Apr 29, 2016
Sail and power vessels at Marina Hemingway in Cuba.

Sail and power vessels at Marina Hemingway in Cuba.

Peter Swanson

Nine boats, both power and sail, carrying 29 people will sail from the Florida Keys to Havana, Cuba, in April for a two-week excursion aimed at showcasing the island nation and improving Spanish-language proficiency. 
 
This rally is sanctioned by AIM Marine Group through the People to People program, according to organizer and sailor Peter Swanson. The April event is sold out but others are planned for May and October. 

“We are teaching these folks conversational and nautical Spanish so they can cruise Cuba with confidence because they can communicate with port officials and vendors,” Swanson said in a recent interview. 

The vessels will stay in the Marina Hemingway in Havana. The city has become a hot tourist destination amid warming U.S.-Cuba relations. A convoy of Nordhavn power voyagers recently traveled to Havana, while others made the trip solo. There are myriad regulations for Americans traveling to Cuba. “Our deal is that we provide legality from the U.S. end,” he said. “We observe the letter and spirit of U.S. regulations in this program. Some people are going down under very sketchy cover … and that is not what we do.”

Swanson calls the April event a “non-denominational, propulsion agnostic rally” drawing vessels ranging from sailboats to motor yachts for the roughly 100-mile trip. Participating crafts include a Pacific Seacraft 40, Pearson 424, Neptunus 70 motor yacht, Swanson’s Morgan Out Island 41 and a Roughwater 42, among others. 

The cost to join an upcoming rally is $4,900 per boat for two people and $2,200 for each additional person. For details, contact Swanson at petercswanson@gmail.com.

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