The Salty Dawg Sailing Association completed its first cruising rally to Cuba on April 17.
Left to right: Commodore Jose Escrich of the Hemingway International Yacht Club presents the HIYC burgee to rally director Hank George and Seale George.
On April 17, twenty three vessels departed Marina Hemingway for the US East Coast in the final leg of the inaugural Salty Dawg Rally to Cuba.
The Hemingway International Yacht Club officially welcomed the nonprofit Salty Dawg Sailing Association (SDSA) with a colorful and fun.
Welcome Party and closed the visit with a Farewell Dinner, complete with official signing of a Friendship Agreement between the two organizations, performance by a Cuban Rock band, a whole pig roast, an exchange of burgees and presentation of a plaque from the SDSA to commend HIYC on its 25th Anniversary.
The research, time with the Cuban people and special gatherings have left a lasting memory with the 120 sailors who participated in this Rally. “Rallies such as this and the resulting reference material will help to build stronger bonds between Cuba and the USA in general and their sailing communities in particular. We look forward to more such events by the Salty Dawg Sailing Association,” said rally director Hank George.
SDSA hosted this rally for American vessels in compliance with OFAC requirements for US vessels and persons. Participants did research on a range of topics of interest to those who may visit Cuba in the future, from marine issues to Cuban culture and cuisine. The research findings will be posted on the SDSA web site on or about June 1.
Vessels in the Rally departed Virgin Gorda, North Sound in late March and others from Key West in early April, conducting their research in Cuba from April 5th to 17th. The 14 day visit supported an educational-based people to-people exchange.
From the BVI and USVI, the Rally was a natural, with a downwind passage from the Caribbean back to the US via Cuba. Research involved travels to many points in NW Cuba and throughout Havana, meetings and interviews with Cubans, visiting historical sites, attending cultural activities and events and sampling local cuisine. Donated supplies were also transported by Salty Dawg vessels to be given to Cuban artists, crafts persons and specialty clubs.