I wrote an article that appeared recently in our sister publication SAIL magazine about a cruising pattern I have dubbed the Bahamas-Cuba Loop. Cuba is a hot topic now and dockside blowhards are baying like a pack of beagles.
My article caused a stir, with self styled "experts" accusing me of making things up. Why after nearly 40 years of covering the news, I should suddenly decide that fictionalizing was a good idea, I don't know, but that's what they were implying
As the name implies, the Bahamas-Cuba Loop involves cruising to both places. Unfortunately, I noted, the newly liberalized U.S. regs require that U.S. boaters (with a legal reason to visit Cuba) go directly to Cuba and back without visiting a third country, which kinda defeats the idea of a loop in this instance.
Anyway a bunch of sailors, who probably have not been covering maritime Cuba since 1992, claimed this requirement did not exist, a claim they made in postings online. Because they had not found the reg, it did not exist. Amazing.
For any of you barking dogs who happen to find this, here is the very wording and below is the link to the government site:
Transportation by vessel of authorized travelers – between the United States and Cuba only and without stops in third countries – will be authorized by general license. Certain related lodging services aboard vessels used for such travel will also be authorized.
All this is a roundabout way of saying that if you want to learn FACTS about cruising Cuba and how to take your boat there LEGALLY you should come see us at TrawlerFest-Riviera Beach. We've got a four-hour seminar on the topic led by Don and Cheryl Barr, beginning at 8:30 a.m. on Friday, Jan. 29.
Don Barr, a Canadian sea captain, has cruised the Cuban coast for the past 19 years, most recently to facilitate research for his daughter Cheryl’s two-volume Cruising Guide to Cuba. He’ll share his thoughts on cruising strategies for short and long trips. Maritime attorney Greg Singer will show attendees how to navigate U.S. regulations and cruise Cuba legally. And I, who you might remember as former PassageMaker editor-in-chief, will suggest a rally to Havana operated by the largest marine magazine publisher in the world. That would be us, the big dog.
The TrawlerFest boat show and seminar series happens at the Riviera Beach Municipal Marina Tuesday through Sunday, Jan. 26-31. The boat show runs Thursday through Sunday, Jan. 28-31, and includes booths displaying marine products and services. For information about TrawlerFest-Riviera Beach, call 954.703.4789 or send an email to Trawlerfest@passagemaker.com.