Canadian Yachting February 2020 - 98

CROSSING THE LINE

By John Morris

Last crossing to Havana
Earlier this year, back on June 4th, President Trump canceled
most tourism to Cuba for Americans. While nothing Trump does
surprises anyone, for those of us aboard Ocean Motion Too, this
seemed particularly nutbar.
As the single Canadian among 15 or so boats full of enthusiasts from various US states, I was part of a fun filled Charter to
Cuba just two weeks prior to the news. Until Trump pronounced
his impulsive ban on cruise ships and charters, the happy folks
taking part in this first crossing adventure were confident they
were in the vanguard of a terrific new (for them) cruising destination. Wrongly as it turned out.
This column didn't start as a discussion of American foreign
policy, although that's often a lot of fun. And yes, there's quite a
bit that can be discussed about Cuba's internal mess, but at the
time the only goal of this adventure was discovery and friendship.
So let's get onboard the boats.
Florida Yachts Charters created the project and were very
thorough in their prep. Ocean Motion Too, a Fountaine Pajot
power catamaran, was the designated sweep boat supporting the
others across the Straits of Florida to the Land of Rum and Cigars. Our job was to herd the cats (pun intended) and assist in
getting them to Hemingway Marina. The boats included a majority of FYC charter boats, but some individuals signed up too,
just to take advantage of the complicated permissions and land
arrangements the charter company had obtained.
The only issue is the Gulfstream. Flowing eastward between
Florida and Cuba, it packs enough energy to circulate hot water
from the Caribbean all the way across the Atlantic to the Hebrides. When an easterly blows against the current, the result can
be quite eventful so the pre-departure skippers' meeting included
a lot of discussion of the weather. As well, the Americans had to
fill out a lot of paperwork and were advised to keep logbooks of
the cultural activities planned for their onshore visit. Somebody
in some department could maybe ask for that evidence since the
official guise of US tourism to Cuba is people-to-people visits.
Before the fleet attacked the Strait, the trick was to get
through the reefs that run along the Keys. Once we were safely
outside the dramatic Sand Key light that marks a safe channel,
the next stop is Cuba, approximately 80 miles at 210. By leaving
late afternoon, the crossing arrives in daylight, which is helpful
since electronic navigation can get a bit sketchy in Cuban waters,
plus there's quite a parade of shipping in the lanes in addition to
some very strong right to left pushing during the crossing.
Despite some gloomy predictions, the weather held and a
tropical dawn greeted us as we coasted into the marina at the
west end of Havana's waterfront. The Cuban authorities were
genuinely welcoming; the marina guys super friendly and beer
chilled for our arrival.
The Cuba visit was filled with great food, old cars and happy
Latino partying - just as you'd like for a charter experience. The
whole thing was a bit careful - Cubans can't or won't come
aboard, you feel the sense of authority in minor ways but other98

Can adian Ya cht i ng

Khaleesi team included: Michael Cowan - Washington, DC,
Thomas Greene - Buda, TX, Steven Conway - Lewisville, TX,
Isabel Thorn - Key West, FL, Thomas Johnson - Key West, FL,
Autumn Doulong - Sterling, VA, David Doulong - Sterling, VA,
Vicki Johnson - Virginia Beach, VA, Wiley Johnson
- Virginia Beach, VA

Orion team included: Chris Stokes - Lincoln, NE, Mayfield,
Todd - Kansas City, MO, Bartels, Todd - Kansas City, MO

wise it's all hearts and cocktails. We even had a superb sailpast
though Havana Harbour celebrating the city's 500th anniversary.
Fantastico.
If the US State Department asked for the most successful
recipe for improving American understanding of Cuba, this
would be it. Eager boaters meeting Cubans and seeing the country up close. The problem, according to Trump anyhow, is that
like cruise ship passengers, charterers are contributing to the
Cuban economy. FYC had seen this as a welcome offering based
on the limited but more open approach to Cuba visits Obama
had put in place in 2016. But now that door is closed.
The good news is that we Canadians can happily swing across
to the Hemingway Marina or other Cuban destinations. The only
hiccup is that you have to get your boat to Florida - that's just
not in the cards for everyone. This charter scheme could have
been a hit for Canadian boater snowbirds. Let's hope Trump
doesn't get mad at BVI. *
FEBRUARY 2020



Canadian Yachting February 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Canadian Yachting February 2020

Special Feature: Seven Newbies from the 2019 US Sailboat Show in Annapolis
Special Feature: METS Trade Show – Latest New Products from Around The World
Travel Destination: Belize – Sailing Solitude
At the Helm: Looking ahead to a great summer in 2020!
Power Review: Neptunus 750 Flybridge
Sail Review: Beneteau First Yacht 53
Power Review: Gran Turismo 36
Sail Review: Excess 12 and Excess 15
Power Review: NC 895 Sport
Power Review: Boston Whaler 230 Vantage
The Port Hole: February 2020
Book Review: Ready to Come About
Crossing The Line: Last Crossing to Havana
Canadian Yachting February 2020 - Intro
Canadian Yachting February 2020 - Cover1
Canadian Yachting February 2020 - Cover2
Canadian Yachting February 2020 - 3
Canadian Yachting February 2020 - At the Helm: Looking ahead to a great summer in 2020!
Canadian Yachting February 2020 - 5
Canadian Yachting February 2020 - 6
Canadian Yachting February 2020 - 7
Canadian Yachting February 2020 - Special Feature: Seven Newbies from the 2019 US Sailboat Show in Annapolis
Canadian Yachting February 2020 - 9
Canadian Yachting February 2020 - 10
Canadian Yachting February 2020 - 11
Canadian Yachting February 2020 - 12
Canadian Yachting February 2020 - 13
Canadian Yachting February 2020 - 14
Canadian Yachting February 2020 - 15
Canadian Yachting February 2020 - 16
Canadian Yachting February 2020 - 17
Canadian Yachting February 2020 - Power Review: Neptunus 750 Flybridge
Canadian Yachting February 2020 - 19
Canadian Yachting February 2020 - 20
Canadian Yachting February 2020 - 21
Canadian Yachting February 2020 - 22
Canadian Yachting February 2020 - 23
Canadian Yachting February 2020 - Sail Review: Beneteau First Yacht 53
Canadian Yachting February 2020 - 25
Canadian Yachting February 2020 - 26
Canadian Yachting February 2020 - 27
Canadian Yachting February 2020 - 28
Canadian Yachting February 2020 - 29
Canadian Yachting February 2020 - Power Review: Gran Turismo 36
Canadian Yachting February 2020 - 31
Canadian Yachting February 2020 - 32
Canadian Yachting February 2020 - 33
Canadian Yachting February 2020 - 34
Canadian Yachting February 2020 - 35
Canadian Yachting February 2020 - Sail Review: Excess 12 and Excess 15
Canadian Yachting February 2020 - 37
Canadian Yachting February 2020 - 38
Canadian Yachting February 2020 - 39
Canadian Yachting February 2020 - 40
Canadian Yachting February 2020 - 41
Canadian Yachting February 2020 - Power Review: NC 895 Sport
Canadian Yachting February 2020 - 43
Canadian Yachting February 2020 - 44
Canadian Yachting February 2020 - 45
Canadian Yachting February 2020 - 46
Canadian Yachting February 2020 - 47
Canadian Yachting February 2020 - Power Review: Boston Whaler 230 Vantage
Canadian Yachting February 2020 - 49
Canadian Yachting February 2020 - 50
Canadian Yachting February 2020 - 51
Canadian Yachting February 2020 - Special Feature: METS Trade Show – Latest New Products from Around The World
Canadian Yachting February 2020 - 53
Canadian Yachting February 2020 - 54
Canadian Yachting February 2020 - 55
Canadian Yachting February 2020 - 56
Canadian Yachting February 2020 - 57
Canadian Yachting February 2020 - 58
Canadian Yachting February 2020 - 59
Canadian Yachting February 2020 - 60
Canadian Yachting February 2020 - The Port Hole: February 2020
Canadian Yachting February 2020 - 62
Canadian Yachting February 2020 - 63
Canadian Yachting February 2020 - 64
Canadian Yachting February 2020 - 65
Canadian Yachting February 2020 - 66
Canadian Yachting February 2020 - 67
Canadian Yachting February 2020 - 68
Canadian Yachting February 2020 - 69
Canadian Yachting February 2020 - 70
Canadian Yachting February 2020 - 71
Canadian Yachting February 2020 - 72
Canadian Yachting February 2020 - 73
Canadian Yachting February 2020 - Travel Destination: Belize – Sailing Solitude
Canadian Yachting February 2020 - 75
Canadian Yachting February 2020 - 76
Canadian Yachting February 2020 - 77
Canadian Yachting February 2020 - 78
Canadian Yachting February 2020 - 79
Canadian Yachting February 2020 - 80
Canadian Yachting February 2020 - Book Review: Ready to Come About
Canadian Yachting February 2020 - 82
Canadian Yachting February 2020 - 83
Canadian Yachting February 2020 - 84
Canadian Yachting February 2020 - 85
Canadian Yachting February 2020 - 86
Canadian Yachting February 2020 - 87
Canadian Yachting February 2020 - 88
Canadian Yachting February 2020 - 89
Canadian Yachting February 2020 - 90
Canadian Yachting February 2020 - 91
Canadian Yachting February 2020 - 92
Canadian Yachting February 2020 - 93
Canadian Yachting February 2020 - 94
Canadian Yachting February 2020 - 95
Canadian Yachting February 2020 - 96
Canadian Yachting February 2020 - 97
Canadian Yachting February 2020 - Crossing The Line: Last Crossing to Havana
Canadian Yachting February 2020 - Cover3
Canadian Yachting February 2020 - Cover4
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