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  #21  
Old 09-07-2008
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  #22  
Old 09-07-2008
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I've been there, flew there on someone else's license about 4 yrs ago. I love the country, the history, and the cigars, (my website) that sailing there, No farking way. Remember Havana is 90 miles from Key West and the US maintains a 200 mile maritime border. If you visit on a boat you can damn well bet that you will be stopped and boarded by the coasites.

That and the trades make it a bugger of a beat after you leave.
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  #23  
Old 09-07-2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by XTR View Post
I've been there, flew there on someone else's license about 4 yrs ago. I love the country, the history, and the cigars, (my website) that sailing there, No farking way. Remember Havana is 90 miles from Key West and the US maintains a 200 mile maritime border. If you visit on a boat you can damn well bet that you will be stopped and boarded by the coasites.

That and the trades make it a bugger of a beat after you leave.
It's 12 miles not 200. Had this discussion on another thread. 200 miles limit is for mineral rights and fisheries, not passage.
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Hey stuffit "Get a life"
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  #24  
Old 09-07-2008
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It seems strange that we give China most favored trade status and constantly wage economic war with Cuba. I met a Canadian heading to Cuba. I guess Canadians believe in freedom for their citizens. Personally I believe that Castro would now be a footnote in history if the US had not waged economic war on Cuba for so long. A flood of rich tourists would undermine Castro. Maybe Cuba should be more like Haiti!!!! But who would want to go there???
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Old 09-08-2008
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US <-> Cuba

Quote:
Originally Posted by yousmc View Post
Does anyone know what the regulations are for sailing to Cuba (tourist)? What is the best way to get there from the US?
Provided you are not a US citizen/resident, and in a non US-flagged yacht, in my experience last year you can sail between US and Cuba.

The easiest passage is Key West to Havana, normally a reach either way. Havana (Hemingway Marina) has a tricky entrance best avoided at night or in strong onshore winds.

CBP does have a rule prohibiting yachts "in their jurisdiction" from going to Cuba, which they appear to assume applies to foreign yachts currently within the US. So when you leave US, you are not permitted to give Cuba as your destination, you will have to say you are going somewhere else. I have heard of non-US flagged yachts being harassed by USCG as they left Key West (illegally by international maritime law) if it was known they planned to go Cuba.

You should announce your arrival on ch16 when you are several miles off Cuba. Keeping calling periodically even if you get no answer. Cuban customs do want an exit document from your previous port, so you are best off getting one, even though it doesn't give Cuba as the destination. That seemed to be expected by the Cubans when I did it.

Returning, there is no particular difficulty about leaving Cuba, except for the extra-vigilant search by the border guards. Arriving, from my experience expect to be read the riot act by US CBP officers (it would be foolish to lie about where you have come from). However, there appears to be no actual law against doing so and in due course I was admitted. CBP does have considerable discretion over who they admit even with a visa, so be careful. They will confiscate anything bought in Cuba. I was fortunate in not being stopped by USCG en route so don't know how that would have worked out.

Last edited by LynW; 09-08-2008 at 03:03 AM.
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Old 09-08-2008
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Going to Cuba

We are US citizens and live in the Bahamas in the winter. We considered going to Cuba last year and decided not to take the risk. There are several good web sites that will give you real, practical information on the subject.

First, you can physically go to Cuba quite easily. There are several travel agencies in Nassau that will arrange a tour from there, no questions asked and no passport stamp. The problem is this. When you return to the US you have to fill out a form that asks what countries you visited. If you say "Cuba" you risk a misdemeanor charge and a $2500 fine. If you don't say "Cuba" you have committed a felony.

Who's going to know? Last year a German friend who spends time every winter was returning to Austria via the US. At US Immigration(which is in Nassau) they recited not just her travel history, but her mothers as well. "You are Madam X, your mother is mother X and she has been coming to Nassau for thirty years etc.". Who's going to know? Big brother, that's who. It seems there is a lot of information sharing going on. Madame X, by the way, works in airport security at the Vienna airport.

As far as bringing my precious boat to Cuba? Not on your tintype. I worked too long and hard to get my baby. I won't risk confiscation to visit a third world country.

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Old 09-08-2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by seabreeze_97 View Post
Speaking of flying, how is it the Hurricane Hunters can fly right over the middle of Cuber when they were tracking Gustav and no Migs or ground-to-air missiles...nothing. I can't believe they'd allow it simply on the basis of perhaps benefitting from the weather info. Do they think all Hercs have Howitzers or are they afraid of anything bigger than a Cessna?
Nah, The Cubans are not afraid of a C-130 (they do benifit from its data though)

I'll wager that the Cubans are afraid of the Mako's... i.e. The 93rd Fighter Squadron flying F-16's out of Homestead, FL.... THOSE are the guys the Castro's do not like.... (with good reason)
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Old 09-08-2008
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While working in GTMO, Guantanamo Bay, several years ago I had a sailboat down at the Post Office landing which is where visiting sailboats were docked while at GTMO. Visiting normally meant they had some type of emergency, medical or mechanical, and very infrequently actual visitors who obtained special permission to visit friends who were stationed there.


Generally the boats with emergencies were non-US flagged boats which were either cruising Guantanamo Cuba or transiting the Windward Passage after visiting. As the only other sailor on the dock I frequently talked to them about their visits.


All said pretty much the same thing. Bear in mind these recollections are from pre-2003. These comments are not reflective of stops at established tourist marinas. Visiting sailboats were not necessarily made welcome everywhere but were mostly accepted. There were areas they were directed to not go to, although some did and said they couldn't figure out why they weren't supposed to. There were generally stores they were allowed (directed) to shop in and the products were higher priced than normal food prices. Public transportation was not always available and most places did not have a "tourist infrastructure" but were on economic subsistence level. Customary public places like laundries not generally available. People were very friendly but government oversight or interest in what the foreigners were doing whenever they came around government areas. Generally the sights and vistas were of great interest but difficult to find transportation. Only specific places they were allowed to stop and required documentation port to port. No unscheduled anchoring. Several had done some anchoring under the mechanical problem pretext and enjoyed the local flavor. These were down on the southeastern shores and islands. Overall they had many new experiences and enjoyed themselves but never felt 'free' to participate in the natural exploring and adventuring visitors like to do.


I can say that while transiting from GTMO to the Bahamas I sailed just off the coast up the Windward Passage and the mountains and land looked spectacular, but it also was fairly barren of settlements, towns, and people. There is a small town on the Southeastern tip of Cuba which looked like it would have made a great beach resort yet other than what looked like some small patrol boats and several fishing boats it was fairly unremarkable.


That being said there are several Cruising Guides for Cuba. While I do not advocate breaking any US laws you should keep in mind that US intelligence assets DO have the capability to track ALL vessels which transit the waters around Cuba. Although foreign sailboats regularly visit Cuba that does not mean the US isn't aware of it and does not have the ability to backtrack where a vessel has been when it enters US waters.


That being said, they cannot keep track of everything BUT should something happen they could pull up imagery or track data or customs records from our allies in the Caribbean to correlate information with regards to a particular vessel, should they be so inclined.


Regardless that we should have normalized relations with Cuba 10 years ago it should also be remembered that some branches of the Federal government like to make examples of sailors who go to Cuba and they COULD call on a lot of resources to track where you and your boat have been. I would suggest waiting the 5 to 10 years, or maybe less, when we normalize relations with Cuba, and then you can visit as a tourist. Capitalism brings walls down not isolationism and embargos. I intend to visit as soon as they normalize so am anxiously waiting the day. Thanks


Pat
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Last edited by pfbanyas; 09-08-2008 at 09:47 AM.
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  #29  
Old 09-11-2008
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Pat: Thanks for the first hand knowledge. I agree with you about capitalism bringing down wall. If trade normalization was made years back Cubans would be better off as well as Americans.
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  #30  
Old 09-18-2008
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The easiest way for an American to visit Cuba is:
1. Go to the airport
2. Eat powdered donuts.
3. Shout a lot of stuff about God
4. Refer to George Bush as the Great Satin
Oh, never mind. I forgot this is already happening every day during the presidential campaign.
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