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Old 04-04-2016, 21:00   #1
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What do you want to know about sailing to Cuba?

I'm putting together some experts for a webinar to school us all on how we can prepare for sailing to Cuba.
What would you ask them? What do you want to know about sailing to Cuba and how to prepare for it?
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Old 05-04-2016, 06:18   #2
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Re: What do you want to know about sailing to Cuba?

Just wondering on what your definition of an "expert" is on sailing to Cuba ?
Also is this something you plan on charging for?
I would think the information is already available right here on CF.
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Old 05-04-2016, 06:19   #3
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Re: What do you want to know about sailing to Cuba?

I think for U.S. sailors the questions would be the obvious ones...

First would be the paperwork and legalities involved--both from our side and checking in in Cuba. Second would be the winds and currents to expect--good hopping off points and good points to land. Third would be basic "cruising guide" kind of information--good marinas, anchorages, restaurants, things to do and see.
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Old 05-04-2016, 06:23   #4
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Re: What do you want to know about sailing to Cuba?

Quote:
Originally Posted by caradow View Post
Just wondering on what your definition of an "expert" is on sailing to Cuba ?
Also is this something you plan on charging for?
I would think the information is already available right here on CF.
What Caradow said

And what's the focus?
The legal side for US flagged boats, or more of a 'cruising guide' for anyone interested in sailing Cuba?
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Old 05-04-2016, 07:31   #5
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Re: What do you want to know about sailing to Cuba?

In addition to the previous comments and questions, what are the rules and restrictions cruising Cuba?

I recall seeing comments about where you can (or more accurately cannot) go, restrictions on anchoring when/where you like, rules on traveling inland, latest currency rules and other similar issues.
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Old 05-04-2016, 08:48   #6
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Re: What do you want to know about sailing to Cuba?

The main point for Americans would be the the 1 of 12 criteria that you must meet to be eligible to travel without paperwork.
The second thing is try and find an actual ICE or CG agent willing to discuss the topic that works in the Miami or Keys. I have read on several different threads that they don't exactly get excited to see Americans return directly from Cuba...

The next thing would be discuss cool places that Americans can visit or dine at - as actual tourism is forbidden. We still gotta eat.
I heard this restaurant called "salt & pepper" is really good from my non-American friends that visit frequently.

I look forward to see what you put together!
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Old 05-04-2016, 10:58   #7
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Re: What do you want to know about sailing to Cuba?

Hi, Ive heard that one cannot anchor and then dink into any land areas, all boats with folks going ashore must be at a marina dock...is this true?
What if a cruiser has firearms on board...is this a visit to Fidel's special hotel?
And then everyone elses posted questions...
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Old 05-04-2016, 11:02   #8
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Re: What do you want to know about sailing to Cuba?

Sailingflorida currently has 6 boats licensed for travel to Cuba. Go to their blog , they have most all of the info needed as they have boats sailing there this week.
As of 1:10 pm EST, 10 of the 13 boats have arrived in Havana in the Hemmingway Regatta. 4-05-2016
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Old 05-04-2016, 12:00   #9
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Re: What do you want to know about sailing to Cuba?

I've been dealing with this precise issue since Obama's visit and announcement. From internet searches and asking the CG I gleaned the following. If not tied to a group and you want to qualify under the "people to people contacts" you are supposed to get a letter from Washington (State I think). Part of the deal is no "tourist activities" and maintaining a log of your contacts. Bartenders definitely ok, hookers probably not. The strict spending limits appear to be gone. I have not yet had the patience to wade through government web sites to get my letter but eventually will have to. My understanding is that not having the letter leaves me at the mercy of some nit picking Miami Cuban Fascist and I hear USCG- Key West has lots of them. Maybe everything I think I have learned is wrong and it is easy. Please get your project going ASAP so I can find out!
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Old 05-04-2016, 12:08   #10
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Re: What do you want to know about sailing to Cuba?

Once you get there the rules are easy. Just don't take them casually. Land only in the selected ports open to foreigners. You may anchor but stay on board. Purchases from local fishermen can be trouble particularly lobsters.There are lots of good sources on the Cuba visit; currency, places to go, dos and don't, gifts and tips, etc.. The unmet need is the ever changing hoops Americans must jump through unless buying membership in a group and to me, that is not cruising.
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Old 05-04-2016, 17:05   #11
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Re: What do you want to know about sailing to Cuba?

How do I get on the golf course at Gitmo?
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Old 05-04-2016, 20:31   #12
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Re: What do you want to know about sailing to Cuba?

There seems to be several cruising guides for Cuba now available and noonsite even did a comparison of the 2 latest editions. Nigel Calder's cruising guide is also still available.

Lot's of rules and regulations imposed by the Cubans. to sail in Cuban waters requires a sailing permit which must list every place that you want to go. somewhat like Indonesia. The only places that you can berth are at approved International marinas which I believe there are only 4 and only 2 on the North coast including Varadero and Hemmingway in Havana. We base our boat in Cuba for 2 years in 2008 and 2009 working out of Varadero.

Charts are terrible and not current.

At that time you could not take a dinghy ashore anywhere although you could anchor if the anchorage was on the cruising permit. Even so you were likely to get a visit from the authourities within a short time after anchoring.

There are 2 currencies in Cuba. One for the locals and one for the tourists.

The tourist Peso is pegged to the US dollar. this is a big money maker for the government. Better to work in Mone National and eat at the local restaurants if you can find a good one with edible food.

The biggest wage earners there are the people working the tourist industry due to the tips. It wasn't uncommon to find doctors driving cabs as they made more money that way than in their profession. the cleaning ladies were some of the best paid people in the country thanks to all the Canadian tourists. Although there were quite a few Europeans there the culture I guess is not conducive to tipping. They can't wait for the Americans to come back as this should really help. The Canadians of course hope this never happens as we will likely get run out and of course prices will go through the roof from demand. 50% of the boats in Cuba are Canadian with lot's of full time expats. Quite a few American boats there as well at the time.

You cannot get anything for your boat over there and most boats made a run for Marathon or Key West every 3-6 months to stock up even the American ones. Nobody checked in to the US when coming from Cuba especially the US boats. Never heard of anyone having any problems.

Obviously a big draw for the older ex-pats were the young Cuban girls who would get quite a boost to their economic situation. Knew one American guy that actually married a 13 year old. He was 50. We called him Pervert Mike. He is probably still there but his wife would be 20 now.

Havana was pretty much in ruins except for the waterfront. Once you walked more than a few blocks into the city many buildings were crumbling and the only floors that people lived on were at or near the top as otherwise you could get killed by falling concrete. The Melancon itself was very nice thanks to money provided by the Spanish Government to help rebuild many of the buildings on the waterfront.

Lot's of rules and regulations concerning GPS devices, sat phones, etc. which you could not take ashore. They treated the marinas's as outside the country with Customs officials at the marinas who would inspect your bags leaving the marina and of course returning. Once they got to know you this was mostly a formality but there was one lady who use to bring back all sorts of donations from the Cubans in the US every time she went back and they would give her a hard time or charge her duty to be able to distribute these items to the locals.

You have to pay duty on the boat after being there 1 year. 5 or 10% of the boats value but this could usually be negotiated in advance as they would rather you pay something than just leave. We agreed on $500.00 US in duty on our boat at the time.

No floating docks there but the tides are not large so it is not too bad.

No issues with safety at the time but we left there just when Fidel stepped down for his brother and there were lots of changes taking place. Business reforms that would allow private business ownership as well as massive layoffs. I thought I heard that they had let 500,000 go just before we left.

Would be interesting to see how much things have really changed over there in the last 6 years.
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Old 06-04-2016, 12:12   #13
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Re: What do you want to know about sailing to Cuba?

Level of effort and time required to get paperwork requirements in place before you go as well as what is needed upon checkin.
How easy is it to move around to different ports?
How much $ is it going to cost (marina fees, port charges, paperwork costs, etc.)
Places to avoid
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Old 06-04-2016, 16:08   #14
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Re: What do you want to know about sailing to Cuba?

Undercutter, thanks for the update... though dated. It would be instructive if someone with some more current local knowledge would chime in. I am looking forward to visiting Cuba all the way round. I think if access was granted the impact of sailors to the culture would be wonderful. I'm not referring to nor denigrating the US based members here. As a Canadian vessel I'm not restricted as are the US vessels at least from the American side. More info is needed however.
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Old 07-04-2016, 20:03   #15
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Re: What do you want to know about sailing to Cuba?

Quote:
Originally Posted by caradow View Post
Just wondering on what your definition of an "expert" is on sailing to Cuba ?
Also is this something you plan on charging for?
I would think the information is already available right here on CF.
No, absolutely am not going to be charging for it. And by "expert" I just meant a group of people in the boating industry whose job it is to be up on this information. I just figured if I was going to gather information for myself I could share it with everyone here as well.
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