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Old 03-11-2014, 08:11   #1
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Cuba to Where?

First let me say, please don't post any of the USA rules or regulations about Cuba. I'm aware of the embargo and the rules and gray areas surrounding them. I understand that its a gray area to take a foreign flagged boat from Cuba to the USA (all crew would be Canadian).

Ok a hypothetical question... You need to move a boat from SOUTH Cuba to somewhere for hurricane storage (April to May timeframe).

Where do you go? To the USA either west between Mexico and Cuba or east between Cuba and Haiti? To Isla Mujeres Mexico? Maybe south east to Rio Dulce, Guatemala. South west to Jamaica? South to Cayman Islands?

Opinions?
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Old 03-11-2014, 08:26   #2
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Re: Cuba too where?

If I read your suggested options correctly I see no advantage to any. All the destinations you mention, Cuba east or west, Mexico, Haiti, Jamaica, Rio Dulce are just as likely to get hit with a big hurricane as the south coast of Cuba.

If you have a really good hurricane hole in mind at one of these locations or a place to haul and set you very securely on the ground then go there. Otherwise, to get out of hurricane alley you need to go much further south or north. North however is no guarantee since it isn't that uncommon for a hurricane to run up the US east coast like Sandy for example.
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Old 03-11-2014, 08:40   #3
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Re: Cuba too where?

Alright I will add one more thing. The location should have reasonable access for a limited refit. Things like solar panels, batteries ect..
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Old 03-11-2014, 09:08   #4
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Re: Cuba too where?

No practice experience but ruminating over such issues myself I would lean to Rio Dulce. Well protected, recognized by insurance (I hear), reasonable yards.
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Old 03-11-2014, 09:33   #5
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Re: Cuba too where?

This is by no means first hand information, but have heard Trinidad has reasonable yards and is below the no fly zone. Again just a point of reference for further research.
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Old 03-11-2014, 10:16   #6
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Re: Cuba too where?

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Alright I will add one more thing. The location should have reasonable access for a limited refit. Things like solar panels, batteries ect..
General rule of thumb, if you're spending a good bit on new stuff for the boat it will be easier and cheaper in the US. Anywhere down island everything has to be shipped in small lots, freight often expensive, very few suppliers so no competition, etc, etc, etc.

Of course there may be some exceptions but if I was planning to buy new batteries (heavy and expensive to ship), solar panels (large and expensive to ship) AND I had the option, I would do it in the US.

However factor in labor costs. If you plan to DIY then the US would still be cheaper. If you plan to haul for the hurricane season and pay the yard to do all the work then the higher cost for the parts might be offset by the lower labor and yard costs.
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Old 03-11-2014, 10:34   #7
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Re: Cuba too where?

It would be DIY for the work..

I do understand that things are more expensive outside the USA, but I was hoping someone would give an opinion on alternatives. I believe Isla Majures could be comparable to the USA (there is Costco, Walmart and Chandlers). Unfortunately I think the cost of storage is really high..
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Old 03-11-2014, 10:44   #8
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Re: Cuba too where?

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It would be DIY for the work..

I do understand that things are more expensive outside the USA, but I was hoping someone would give an opinion on alternatives. I believe Isla Majures could be comparable to the USA (there is Costco, Walmart and Chandlers). Unfortunately I think the cost of storage is really high..
You did mention USA as an option in the original post but sounds like you have already decided against the US.

Of all the other options I think Rio Dulce or Mexico would be best but both will in the middle of the hurricane zone. If you are leaving the boat and depending on someone local to take charge I would make really, really sure that you have a good spot.
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Old 03-11-2014, 10:45   #9
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Re: Cuba too where?

I would suggest Curaηao. The people are friendly, the climate sublime, working on your boat is fine. Prices are a bit high but plenty of suppliers available in the area for whatever you need done. Welders, fiberglass, refrigeration etc. all available at the marina.
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Old 03-11-2014, 10:52   #10
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Re: Cuba too where?

No the USA is still an option.. Just not sure the best route from South Cuba, or the best location in the USA (Not Key West).

I never thought about Curacao, but its about 1600km from Cuba. I think the USA would be the better option if I'm sailing that far.
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Old 03-11-2014, 11:00   #11
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Re: Cuba too where?

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No the USA is still an option.. Just not sure the best route from South Cuba, or the best location in the USA (Not Key West).
Depends on which end of south Cuba. If the eastern end then go through the Windward Passage and make for north Florida. Clear US customs further north and you are much less likely to get a hassle about Cuba. Not certain but I think West Palm Beach has been mentioned as a good option.

From there you have several options for good, safe and cheap locations to park the boat and do the work. Indiantown on the St Lucie River is inland, pretty well protected and cheap. Further north go up the St Johns River to Green Cove Springs. Same benefits.

If you are way on the west end of Cuba and have no interest in cruising east on the south coast then through the Yucatan Passage and north to the west coast of FL. By pass Key West and clear in at Ft Meyers or somewhere in that area. Not as familiar with the yards on the west side but I'm sure there are plenty.
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Old 03-11-2014, 12:15   #12
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Re: Cuba too where?

Check out Clear Lake Texas, on Galveston bay. Head north from the Yucatan, it is an easy ride. Everything imagainable is available there and the cost of living and slip rentals are among the best in the USA. Hurricanes to come to Galveston Bay sometimes, but there are several well protected marinas to stay in during hurricane season. And being 20 miles inland is much better than being on the coast.
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Old 03-11-2014, 12:25   #13
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Re: Cuba too where?

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Ok a hypothetical question... You need to move a boat from SOUTH Cuba to somewhere for hurricane storage (April to May timeframe).
Actually the Marina of Santiago de Cuba is quite well protected thou you can't have anything done there, anyway for the boat..
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Old 05-11-2014, 15:26   #14
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Re: Cuba too where?

Alright.. I wanted to update this as I have been doing some thinking and planning.

South Cuba (Cenfriegos) to Tampa area is about 750nm if you stay near the Cuban coast and duck into anchorages (around the western tip). This would track around Cuba and head north between Key West and Dry Tortugas.

Of course you could cut some nautical miles out if you cut a track straight from the western tip of Cuba to Tampa. I think this would leave you pretty open and with the wind in an unfavorable direction.

Does this seem like a run that could be made in 10 days. I'm thinking 80-90nm per day. Am I pushing way to hard or does this sound reasonable. The proposed time is late April, early May. Of course I understand I may have to wait a little bit to get across the gulf stream.

P.S. I picked Tampa as it seems to have some reasonably priced hard storage.
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Old 05-11-2014, 16:57   #15
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Re: Cuba too where?

Florida for hurricane protection??
Are you kidding? Isn't Florida hurricane alley?
My insurance was quoted to be a $1000 more to stay in Florida as opposed to the Caymans for that very reason.
Again from Cuba to Curacio can be a pleasant beam or close reach and much easier sailing than beating yourself up to reach Florida! However would suggest to go around the eastern tip of Jamaica.
Curacio Marine is a very professional yard and the island is very pleasant. Much more European than Aurba with a lot of nice restraints and dive spots.
Plus the return trip is also easy sailing. We sailed from Curacio to Port Antonio Jamaica without tacking once and then Cayman and Cienfuegos is down wind. Good luck in wherever you choose.
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