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Old 18-02-2012, 08:00   #46
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Re: Cuba for Americans ?

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Originally Posted by Jolly Roger View Post
This is an interesting thread, but I have a different perspective:
Im an Englishman living in Florida, with a Green Card, but not a US Citizen.
A year ago I bought a US documented boat, then undocumented it, and have now registered it as a British ship in the Isle of Man.
In a couple of months we want to make a maiden voyage somewhere, Bermuda, Bahamas and maybe include Cuba, then return to my home port of Melbourne, Florida.
Questions:
Can I visit Cuba, then sail back to the US without fear of reprisal or hassle?
What if I had a US Citizen(s) aboard as crew? My daugher is now a US (and UK) Citizen.
Do the Cuban authorities and people welcome overseas boaters anyway, or is there any hassle at their end as well?
www.schooner-britannia.com
Can't comment on the US regs as they pertain to a non citizen resident but from all reports the Cubans almost universally welcome visitors. Had a friend who spent about three months in Cuba about twenty years ago and covered the whole north coast. Only once did he encounter anyone that was not happy to see him.
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Old 18-02-2012, 08:04   #47
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Re: Cuba for Americans ?

Your plan is flawed. It is not the boat - it is you. I have been 5 times. There is a lot of good information in this post and some not so good. If you want to go, the best thing to do is to get a permit. See if there are some religious organizations that will sponsor you and find out criteria for permitting by a religious organization. Carry humanitarian supplies to them and voila. Next best is to make friends with someone who is not USA once you get there and have them write you a letter stating that they were your host also get some cuban nationals to swear they were your host as well. More on that later...
It is impossible to go to Cuba and not spend money. You must check in - you must stay in a marina - you must file a float plan with the Coast Guard if you are an American and ask permission (which will be granted) to enter "enemy territorial waters" - you must radio the Guarda Frontera when 12 miles out and ask permission to approach. The moment you do that, the Navy and the CG have you on tape.
When you return, you must check in with Treasury and they will know you were there- (Homeland Security). These are the facts.

Get the permit if they are issuing them at this time. GWB shut that down but I do not know the status at this time. If you do the letter of hosting, here is how it works...You have letters when Treasury interviews you - they say that your good friend so and so paid your berthing, and ice etc while you were there because - he is your friend and you brought him some critical parts. Just for good measure get some cubans to say they met you and also hosted you - this is the ringer. Admit nothing to Treasury and do not bring back any rum, cigars etc. If you are charged, (it is like treason if they charge you - impound the boat - $500K fine- imprisonment etc) you have a right to defend yourself which includes calling witnesses - Cuban witnesses who have the dry foot law. Treasury will drop the charges and look for easier prey.

A lot of risk for a Caribbean junket but hey - you asked.
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Old 18-02-2012, 09:10   #48
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Re: Cuba for Americans ?

Im having a hard time believing that the US government will know you were ever are there- If your coming from a different country, you could easily hang the flag of your choice the boat & cover your boats name- then once you leave put back your USA flag - uncover your name ect- Do you think the Us Government is relay watching you here?
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Old 18-02-2012, 10:01   #49
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Re: Cuba for Americans ?

Again, somewhat true. The Guarda Frontera will not stamp your passport if requested (they usually use a smiley face) and if you enter from a friendly port and then leave for Dominican and check into USA from there, you might be okay. If you use a handheld VHF on low when you hail Cuba, the Coast Guard/Navy might not hear you. You could lie about the name of your vessel to further obfuscate. The fact is, Homeland Security act, the first action, was to join the database of Treasury to CG and Navy. The best idea for this cruiser would be to make landfall in Key West and ask around. Last I heard, the vessel Top Hat was making transits from Key West. True enough, the Gov't has bigger fish to fry than Cuba cruisers. Still - the laws for "entering enemy territorial waters" are draconian and the gov't will resist when you mess with them.

You may not cruise Cuba as you wish. You go where they tell you to go, you stay where they tell you to stay and that means in a marina because they want the money. All that being said, Cuba is a paradise. The Cubans know that and that is why they resist our imperial intentions.

Just bear in mind, it is Treasury Dept that enforces the embargo - the Navy and CG do not have jurisdiction to prevent you from going.

Another tactic might be to make landfall in Dry Tortuga and sit on the hook for a couple days...if Treasury does not come and mess with you, you have reentered then cruise on up, tie up somewhere and wait. If they don't show up - it is on them. Treasury is not in Tortuga I suspect. You are supposed to report but in the old days no one did, they just waited 24 hours.
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Old 18-02-2012, 10:16   #50
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Re: Cuba for Americans ?

One more thing - you will be photographed when you are there. Shady looking dudes, they will claim they just got a new camera and are testing it out if you confront them. Who are they? IDK but I am sure there is a lot of communication on the down low between Cuba and USA. All the Cubans want is to be recognized by the USA as legit.

The history is interesting. Nigel Calder wrote a great cruising guide. Highly recommended.
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Old 18-02-2012, 10:38   #51
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I don't know aBout the legality of it, but I know plenty of people with dual citizenship who just use their non US passport to come and go from Cuba.
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Old 18-02-2012, 11:34   #52
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Re: Cuba for Americans ?

Canibul? How dumb do you think US Customs is?
" I can go to Cuba as long as I don't spend any money there. So if I take a non-USA boat there," Ayup. And when you come back, and they ask you where you stayed, and whether your visit was hosted, and who paid the marina bill, and did you buy any fuel or provisions, you're really going to say you didn't spend any money there?
Bottom line is that they're not going to be happy, and the courts have all upheld their right to hassle the hell out of you because you're not IN the US yet and you don't HAVE any rights yet, when you re-enter. It isn't impossible to play that game, just bear in mind they'll seize your boat if you make just one mistake.
If you choose to play the game, I hope you win.

Roger, as you own a foreign flagged vessel which is in the US under a discretionary-issued cruising permit...Best to ask ICS directly. Same thing for your daughter's dual status.

I don't see all the interest in Cuba. To me, it wouldn't be worth the hassles and risks of losing a boat. There are other places to see, without the problems. Is the US policy nuts? Sure. So's that nasty Fidel fellow. They can fight it out without me getting in the middle, I've got better things to do.
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Old 18-02-2012, 12:11   #53
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Re: Cuba for Americans ?

From my experience, as an American, you can sail to cuba from a non-American port like Haiti and leave back to a non-American port before coming to the US and the US would not know about the trip. I went there in 2010 that way. We had a cuban born sailor onboard. He was taken by cuban authoriteis and deported because their law does not allow a cuban to come back by boat, but OK to fly in. Last month, some American friends visited cuba from Mexico and went back. The Cubans welcome you and do not stamp or mark your US passport. You have to enter only to ports with immigration personel. You can not use credit cards there. A dollar is devalued automatically to 80 cents so take euros instead. You will have to purchase medical insurance which is about 2 or 3 dollars a day. The people are very hospitable including the officials. We went to the south side of the island and entered at Cayo Largo. Very nice area. Good place to do mechanical work on the boat at few dollars an hours for a mechanic.
Be brave. Have fun and do it. I will be back there sometime.
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Old 18-02-2012, 15:59   #54
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Wink Re: Cuba for Americans ?

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Originally Posted by unbusted67 View Post
I know there is a loophole where Americans can fly in to Cuba from Canada. Can you sail into Cuba from a different Caribbean Country?
You can go there anytime you want.
Losten a injector line and ask havana for clearance.Tell them you have fuel leaking and need a meck.............ok......spelled that out.if you have imeadiat life thereting problems you can port any where..............
Havana will be happy for you to take a few days to find "PARTS"
YOU WILL BE BOARDED BY THE US CAOST GUARD OR NAVEY WHEN YOU LEAVE............
Nuff said
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PS,Enjoy the party
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Old 19-02-2012, 20:02   #55
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Re: Cuba for Americans ?

If you are in an emergency (health or mechanical which can turn dangerous and life threatening) you have an execuse to stop and get help in Cuba. This will be acceptable to the US I assume. Again the Cubans do not object to an american being there but it is the US who does. When we went to Cuba, we stopped at a small port one evening and a fishing boat was rowing near us. They threw a couple of mangos to us because one of our sailors was asking them in english where can we find a resaturant and was pointing to his mouth a sign for eating. But the authorities wanted us to leave. We told them we can not because we do not have oil in the engine which was true in one engine . An officer and a soldier show up in a little row boat with 3 quarts of motor oil (seemed used oil but better than nothing) and he did not accept any money or gift for it. All they wanted is for us to leave. So we left to Cayo Largo which is an official entrance port on the south side of Cuba which I think is not monitered by the US as they do between Florida and Havana. I do not see a problem as long as you do not make a trip directly between Cuba and the US without going to a third country first. The nature is so nice there and unspoiled yet.
You can read about a trip some friends made to Cuba last month(Jan 12)
secondstaradventures.blogspot.com
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Old 19-02-2012, 21:57   #56
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Re: Cuba for Americans ?

It's kinda funny ya know! Ive had engine trouble, bad bildge pumps and a leaking hose, and some BAD fuel! seems like something always go's bad when I get close to Cuba ?? must be some commie stuff going on over there maybe?? Found a Mechanic to fix my stuff for just 5 or 6 american dollars!! and give me a real Bill !! LOLOL great folks there!! good food great music pretty girls(yea Im old but still see good )Never had a problem when I supplyed bills for repairs ! just a thought Bob and Connie
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Old 20-02-2012, 06:20   #57
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Re: Cuba for Americans ?

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Originally Posted by abifata View Post
If you are in an emergency (health or mechanical which can turn dangerous and life threatening) you have an execuse to stop and get help in Cuba. This will be acceptable to the US I assume. Again the Cubans do not object to an american being there but it is the US who does. When we went to Cuba, we stopped at a small port one evening and a fishing boat was rowing near us. They threw a couple of mangos to us because one of our sailors was asking them in english where can we find a resaturant and was pointing to his mouth a sign for eating. But the authorities wanted us to leave. We told them we can not because we do not have oil in the engine which was true in one engine . An officer and a soldier show up in a little row boat with 3 quarts of motor oil (seemed used oil but better than nothing) and he did not accept any money or gift for it. All they wanted is for us to leave. So we left to Cayo Largo which is an official entrance port on the south side of Cuba which I think is not monitered by the US as they do between Florida and Havana. I do not see a problem as long as you do not make a trip directly between Cuba and the US without going to a third country first. The nature is so nice there and unspoiled yet.
You can read about a trip some friends made to Cuba last month(Jan 12)
secondstaradventures.blogspot.com
I really enjoyed the blog on Cuba- Was anchoring out allowed in most places & what were marinia costs?
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Old 20-02-2012, 08:05   #58
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Re: Cuba for Americans ?

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, abifata.
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Old 20-02-2012, 08:44   #59
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Re: Cuba for Americans ?

If your foreign flagged vessel is currently in US waters under a US Cruising Permit, then all the laws that apply to US flagged vessels, applies to the vessel under US Cruising Permit.
Go to the Bahamas first, then check out of the Bahamas and go to Cuba. Same as on return, do not come directly back to the US.

Coversely, I remember crewing on US vessels in the Key West to Havana race. The technicality there was, that Marina Hemingway "compted" the dockage, so that US citizens were not spending US dollars in Cuba.......
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Old 20-02-2012, 09:09   #60
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Re: Cuba for Americans ?

@Ram - you may not anchor out for the most part. Marina fees are cheap by comparison to usa.
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