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Old 24-09-2014, 03:12   #1
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Grenada to Cuba

We are planning this January to take our Lagoon 470 up from Grenada to Cuba. We intend to do this mainly by day sailing from island to island. Later in the year we want to go on up the E. coast of the USA.

Has anyone done this passage or has any advice for us?
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Old 30-09-2014, 08:12   #2
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Re: Grenada to Cuba

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Originally Posted by Andrew-Calliope View Post
We are planning this January to take our Lagoon 470 up from Grenada to Cuba. We intend to do this mainly by day sailing from island to island. Later in the year we want to go on up the E. coast of the USA.

Has anyone done this passage or has any advice for us?
Yes I do have advice. First is to read as much about the islands you are going to stop at as is possible. Use RECENT cruising magazines (all at sea, Compass, ect) and as many cruising guides as you can get your hands on. Determine which islands you are going to explore, and which ones you are going to avoid due to safety concerns. Chart and plot your course, and above all, Have a great time enjoying everything that the Caribbean has to offer you. If possible, before pulling into Cuba, have some euros available onboard. It will help you when checking in. If you are a US citizen, slip them a few euros, and they won't stamp your passport. Also when in Cuba, enjoy an evening on the beach with a nice Havana Club!
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Old 13-10-2014, 18:45   #3
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Re: Grenada to Cuba

Hi,
We have sailed the exact route you are proposing and had a great time.
Having experienced the Windwards and Leewards as well as the Greater Antilles, we now just go to Cuba as there is so much there to see and do and such wonderful people and so close to Florida.
For the most part you can day hop the route. The exceptions are the Mona and Windward Passages (more than a day hop) and I dont know that you would want to day hop Haiti.
As for Cuba you must enter at either Santiago de Cuba (south coast) or Puerto Vita (north coast).
Do not consider for a moment bribing an official as that can land you in jail if you bribe the wrong person. And anyway, it is not necessary to bribe them over entry stamps as passports are never stamped not for any national unless you request a stamp. Their standard procedure is to place a loose card in your passport that they take back when you depart. All Cuban Ports of Entry do this as they know some folks have issue with stamps.

From Varadero or Havana make for West Palm Beach as this is the easiest place to check in as Customs and Immigration are walking distance from the dinghy dock and the procedure is hassle free (assuming you are not American in a US Flagged vessel). Regardless of your nationality you must not bring cigars, rum or anything Cuban into the US.

As for currency, it really doesnt matter which currency you have, all mainstream currencies can be exchanged at a CADECA for Cuban Convertible Peso. Euros will be fine.

There is a new Cruising Guide to Cuba by Capt. Cheryl Barr 2013. The first two chapters are filled with information pertinent to preparing for a voyage to Cuba, routes, check in procedures etc.
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Old 15-10-2014, 04:38   #4
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Re: Grenada to Cuba

Thanks to Marlinspike for your response.

Can you tell me how long it took you to Santiago from Grenada and how many overnight passages were involved? Also did you find the passage from the Westernmost tip of Cuba to Havana difficult against the prevailing winds?

Best wishes,
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Old 16-10-2014, 11:13   #5
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Re: Grenada to Cuba

Hi Andrew,

We cruised the islands between Grenada and Cuba for about 2 months. Started up the chain sometime early or mid-March and arrived in Cuba early May.

Overnight passages were: Anagada Passage; Mona Passage between Boqueron, PR & Samana, DR; Samana to Luperon (did this in order to arrive at Luperon in daylight); Manzanillo Bay, DR to Baracoa, CU. Unfortunately Baracoa isn't a check in port so we weren't allowed ashore but we were permitted to anchor in the harbour.

As to the passage between Cabo San Antonio (the western tip of Cuba) and Havana, it was great and easy. There is an inside passage most of the way so day hopped. Left the anchorages early in the day to arrive at the next one by about midday ie. before the sea breeze kicked in. Most of the hops were, on average, about 35 nm. We loved the beach resort at Cayo Levisa.

We re-provisioned for the Cuba portion of the trip in Ponce, PR--hired a van and headed to Costco. For fuel we topped up in French St. Martin and that was it as we had good winds aft of the beam so didn't require much fuel.

It was a great time, thanks for asking as I've enjoyed the memories of that voyage.
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Old 24-10-2014, 02:34   #6
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Re: Grenada to Cuba

I forgot to ask: what charts did you use? Did you also use any computer charts?

Best wishes,
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Old 24-10-2014, 13:54   #7
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Re: Grenada to Cuba

Yes bribes are not necessary, but Tips are from my experience. Feel free to tip, preferably in CUC, but euros, cad, usd are all appreciated. It has opened a lot of doors for me over many trips to the island.

True you actually have to ask them to stamp your passport. They all assume you don't want it, unless you say so. If us is next port of call then skip the stamp, save you grief in case you meet a Cuban American agent. They have very strong feelings to say the least, and will show,no mercy as it relates to US policy towards Cuba


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Old 25-10-2014, 08:01   #8
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Re: Grenada to Cuba

Regarding charts for Cuba, there are new charts kits available from NV-Charts. These are reworked copies of the original Russian/Cuban charts--there are some new details but not much. The Cuban chart kits (7 in total) were poor quality and to buy all 7 was quite expensive. The NV-charts are high quality and come with a disk (charts and OS) for loading onto your laptop.
I have looked at all the various digital charts and they are all the same. Their nav. details are digital copies of the Russian/Cuban charts from the early 1970's.

For your trip, I suggest getting digital charts (any brand will do). Also get a used copy of Nigel Caulder's old guide and if going along Cuba's south coast and around to Havana then get the new Cruising Guide to Cuba by YachtPilot Publishing. The new guide is a 2 volume series however, the second volume is not scheduled to be released until sometime next year. Vol. 1 will cover you from Cienfuegos around to Havana.
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Old 26-10-2014, 12:58   #9
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Re: Grenada to Cuba

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Originally Posted by Andrew-Calliope View Post
We are planning this January to take our Lagoon 470 up from Grenada to Cuba. We intend to do this mainly by day sailing from island to island. Later in the year we want to go on up the E. coast of the USA.

Has anyone done this passage or has any advice for us?
Haven't made that exact trip as we're going other way around Belize-Mexico-Cuba-Jamaica-Hispanola-PR-E Caribbean and now down the islands to Granada. But you might find something of interest in this blog post.
S/V WAHOO: Six Weeks along the Cuban South Coast
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