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Jhooley 03-06-2004 06:34 AM

Sailing to Cuba...need advice on Government and expenses
I am planning a trip. To take a 27-30 footer depart Florida and sail to Cuba and back. I was just wondering if anyone else that has experience sailing especially in the Cuba-Haiti-Puerto Rico area, or any of the remainding eastern carribean islands, could give me advice about what to expect. Will i need passports? What can I expect from the governments of these islands?
Do these governments charge money to enter their waters? I have a very limited budget, and I dont know what to expect. I have never sailed outside the US. I am under the impression that I can anchor at an anchorage...or just offshore in a safe area and take my dinghy ashore for awhile withtout a problem. I am just wondering what kind of laws there are concerning these things. If anyone out there can give me some details, fill in the blanks for me, or have general advice about maritime laws on these islands, and costs or how to avoid costs of sailing in there waters or coming ashore, it would be greatly appreciated. Thanks. Jim

WHOOSH 03-06-2004 08:31 PM

Sailing to Cuba...need advice on Government and expenses
Jim, you are asking a question with a highly variable, complex answer since, in one broad sweep, you are inquiring about the practices which exist in a mix of island nations at a diverse number of ports, islands and remote areas. If you really want a good explanation of the wx pattersn, where anchorages exist, clearance fees & practices info, etc., your best source of info without a doubt is Passages South by Bruce VanSant, now in it''s 7th or 8th edition I believe. It is excellent.

WRT Cuba, if you and/or your boat is from the U.S. this simply isn''t a good time to consider visiting there, altho'' this has been done many, many times by boats leaving from S Florida over the last few decades (when the Treasury Dept. didn''t have Dubya poking it in the ribs about enforcing the Trading with the Enemy Act).

Another alternative is to arrive in Cuba from a 3rd country (e.g. Belize or Mexico, after visiting there) and departing for yet another 3rd country (typically the Bahamas).

For this area, with sustained reinforced tradewinds and any to/from route including some sailing to weather and against wind-driven current and lots of wave action, a boat your size would need to think very carefully about which seasons offer less opposition from weather (usually late spring thru early fall), how you''ll deal with the inevitable storms during that part of the year, and you''ll need a stoutly rigged, well equipped boat (good anchoring systems, most especially).


PDixon 03-06-2004 08:34 PM

Sailing to Cuba...need advice on Government and expenses
Do understand that george bush is President and that you, by advertizing your illegal adventure,and going, will be come the red meat on his reelection plate? For you to go now, don''t plan on coming back, because when you do, a large fine will be waiting for you. It is unfortunate that we who live in the land of the free are restricted of movement for the cheap purpose of political gain. If you do go, wait for the election, vote for ANYONE other than bush, and hope that he become the loser that he is.

Wega24 03-07-2004 03:24 PM

Sailing to Cuba...need advice on Government and expenses
I really do not have the answers for you.

But my neckhair went straight up, about your question, if you need a passport or not.
You are entering a different country. You need a passport. WHat do you think US customs would say if you galantly sail into their ports without a passport ( coming from the countries you want to visit )

Get a passport, buy the cruising guide and than prepare the boat. Comes to mind the other sentence in your post. A 27 to 30 feet..... what boat you have ? mine doesnt extend. Its 30 feet long but not 27 ...even if I try real hard. Or do you want to buy a boat for this adventure ?


DirtManly 03-07-2004 03:24 PM

Sailing to Cuba...need advice on Government and expenses
Hello Jim,
I would definitely stay away from Cuba. When you get back to the states you can expect a fine in the neighborhood of $10,000.00. GOVERNMENT INTERVENTION
(The following are excerpts from a recent ruling by the US Government. We
have chosen to include only parts of it in the interest of avoiding a
political debate, but the amended proclamation does seem to impact those
who have an interest in boating between the US and Cuba)

By the authority vested in me (George W. Bush, President of the United
States of America) by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of
America, in order to expand the scope of the national emergency declared in
Proclamation 6867 of March 1, 1996, based on the disturbance or threatened
disturbance of the international relations of the United States caused by
actions taken by the Cuban government, and in light of steps taken over the
past year by the Cuban government to worsen the threat to United States
international relations.

Section 1. The Secretary may make rules and regulations governing the
anchorage and movement of any vessel, foreign or domestic, in the
territorial waters of the United States, which may be used, or is
susceptible of being used, for voyage into Cuban territorial waters and
that may create unsafe conditions, or result in unauthorized transactions,
and thereby threaten a disturbance of international relations. Any rule or
regulation issued pursuant to this proclamation may be effective
immediately upon issuance as such rule or regulation shall involve a
foreign affairs function of the United States.

Sec. 2. The Secretary is authorized to inspect any vessel, foreign or
domestic, in the territorial waters of the United States, at any time; to
place guards on any such vessel; and, with my consent expressly hereby
granted, take full possession and control of any such vessel and remove the
officers and crew and all other persons not specifically authorized by the
Secretary to go or remain on board the vessel when necessary to secure the
rights and obligations of the United States.

Sec. 3. The Secretary may request assistance from such departments,
agencies, officers, or instrumentalities of the United States as the
Secretary deems necessary to carry out the purposes of this proclamation.
Such departments, agencies, officers, or instrumentalities shall,
consistent with other provisions of law and to the extent practicable,
provide requested assistance.

The complete amendment of Proclamation 6867 is available at

Jhooley 03-08-2004 04:19 AM

Sailing to Cuba...need advice on Government and expenses
Thanks Guys, I figured it would be hard to do. In response to some of the things posted: I havent bought a boat yet, and I know very little about maritime laws and such. I am familiar with coastal sailing.
I dont really want to go to Cuba. I just want to sail along its coast on the way to the eastern caribbean. So I figured I would ask, what kind of trouble it would be to stop at the occasional anchorage or to go ashore. I now understand that it is a risky affair. Thanks alot for the advice. I still want to go, but I now have a little understanding of the complexities of doing this.

WHOOSH 03-08-2004 07:22 AM

Sailing to Cuba...need advice on Government and expenses
Jim, perhaps we misread your question. If what you meant to ask is ''How do I sail to Jamaica and back...?'' then my reply would have sounded much different. That can be a fascinating run, made even more interesting if your boat and the conditions would, together, permit you to sail upwind the stretch from the Windward Passage to Ile a Vache'' in Haiti. (Don''t think revolution, denuded hills and people stealing things off your boat; instead, think walking thru the cover of a 1940''s Nat''l Geographic). The Van Sant guide I mentioned, an old/used Wallace Stone Caribbean Cruising Guide (only a few bucks via Amazon), Lethbridge''s guide on cruising Jamaica, and Rauscher''s guide for the W Caribbean will all be useful reading...and provide most of the harbor pilotage charts you need, too. (Between them, they only miss the Caymans)

You''ll want to sail well off the coast of Cuba and, whenever you can, with the wind. But all that''s easily done on a clockwise tour thru the Central Caribbean.


sailingfool 03-09-2004 03:45 PM

Sailing to Cuba...need advice on Government and expenses
54 Attachment(s)

Your policitical opinions don''t add anything to our boating knowledge or our enjoyment of the sport, which is the purpose of these mesage boards. I''ll share my opinions about politics in a more appropriate forum, but I will opine that it''s ignorant of you to plaster yours here.

PDixon 03-10-2004 07:53 AM

Sailing to Cuba...need advice on Government and expenses
Take your opine and stick it where the sun don''t shine.

Is it not true that a politician is restricting our free movement for the simple purpose gaining favor from a small vocal group of voters in South Florida, a state which played a decisive role in recent history of our country and promises to do so in the future. Is it not true that this policy does effect our sport by putting a virtual fence around a beautiful island 90 miles from our shore. Politics and real life do collide. Why do you not want me to express wider views on governmental policies which affect our sport or do you want me to put on blinders and ignore the erosion of our freedom. This board is big enough to hear the kinds of thoughts I expressed. Shame on you for trying to suppress my ability to speak out on the vital conditions which impact our sport.

bwalker42 03-10-2004 10:20 AM

Sailing to Cuba...need advice on Government and expenses

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