Brief Report of the Hemingway International Yacht Club of Cuba

After some attempts to set up a yacht club to contribute to the development of the nautical tourism in our country, on May 21st, 1992, the Hemingway International Yacht Club of Cuba (HIYC of Cuba) was founded with the objective of contributing to the development of recreational sailing and nautical tourism in Cuba through the fulfilment of competitions and nautical events for friendly and non profit purposes, and promoting friendly relations and cooperation with other yacht clubs, marinas and the international boating community in general.

After its 17th anniversary, the staff of Hemingway International Yacht Club of Cuba feels very proud of the results achieved in this period. So far, more than 2000 sea lovers from 60 countries have registered in this Cuban boating institution. The majority of them come from the United States and currently their government does not allow them to visit Cuba.

The positive work carried out with the international boating community have taken the HIYC of Cuba to participate at important events of the recreational boating industry such as the Miami Boat Show, Fort Lauderdale Boat Show, Mexico Boat Show, Antigua Charter Boat Show, Genoa Boat Show, Barcelona Boat Show, Paris Boat Show, Martinique Boat Show, Southampton Boat Show, Toronto International Boat Show. Besides that, several visits have been made to Guadalupe, Martinique, Antigua, St. Marten, Mexico, United States of America, Bahamas, Spain, Gibraltar, France, Great Cayman, Austria, Italy, Greece, Croatia, United Kingdom, Ireland in response to invitations extended by the boating communities of those countries.

As a result of the prestige achieved in the international boating community, the HIYC of Cuba is member of the International Game Fish Association (IGFA), The Billfish Foundation, both with headquarters in Florida, USA, the Allied Club of Yacht Club of France, and The World Association of Yacht Clubs. The HIYC of Cuba keeps close relations with the National Marina Manufactures Association (NMMA) from USA and Canada, South Florida Marina Industry Association and has the honour to represent cruising associations in Cuba like “Trans Ocean” and “Kreuzer-Abteilung”, both from Germany, The Cruising Club of Switzerland, The Ocean Cruising Club and Cruising Association, both from United Kingdom, as well as the International Game Fish Association (IGFA). Commodore Escrich is Full Member of the ICOMIA Marinas Committee, an organization that gathers more than 19 000 marinas from Canada, USA, Europe, Japan and Australia. He is also member of the International Federation of Maritime Associations and Navy Leagues. The HIYC of Cuba has friendly relations and cooperation with more than 500 yacht clubs of America, Europe, Asia and Oceania.

After a year of its foundation, in June 1993, the HIYC of Cuba celebrated the Havana-Varadero Race with the participation of sail boats and crews from Cuba, Spain, USA, France and Venezuela.

This Cuban nautical institution has got a great experience in the celebration of nautical events among then the most significant are the sailing races (dinghy races and cruising races), jet ski, nautical festivals, fishing tournaments, etc.

During these 17 years, the HIYC of Cuba has hosted more than 80 races and fishing tournaments with the participation of thousands of yachtsmen and anglers of other countries. There have come races from the United States of America, Martinique, Guadalupe, United Kingdom and Spain to Marina Hemingway, Cienfuegos city,  and Marina Darsena Varadero. In 1999, there participated 232 sail boats and 1200 Americans involved in the V Havana Cup Race. The following year, the Havana Cup Race was prohibited by the Unites States Department of Treasury, because the organizer in US was said to be acting as a tourist agent.

A year before, 1998, we had the privilege to welcome the Clipper Ventures race around e world for the first time in Cuba from the United Kingdom. Afterwards, in the years 2000 and 2002, we also had the pleasure to welcome them again.

1999 was considered an important year in the strengthening of our relationship with the Caribbean. This same year, for the first time, a race was held between Cuba and the Caribbean. The name of the race was Transcaraibe Des Passiones Race from Martinique to Marina Hemingway on an annual basis. From the year 2000 on it was decided to bring the race to Santiago de Cuba due to difficulties in the crossing of the north coast of Cuba on March. This year, in its 10 anniversary the race (now is a rally) came to Cienfuegos city, in the south of Cuba.

A momentous event was the celebration of Cadiz-Havana Race in 2001, first race from Spain to Cuba. In all of these races there participated more than 1300 boats for a total of more than 6000 yacht men and woven, most of them from the United States.

The Hemingway International Yacht Club of Cuba feels very pleased to have received in its headquarters the relatives of Ernest Hemingway Mina Hemingway (granddaughter), Hilary Hemingway (niece) and Patrick Hemingway (grandson).

The HIYC of Cuba has been delighted to cooperate with the realization and successful completion of the swimming of the Australian Susie Maronie from Mexico and Jamaica to Cuba and from Havana to Key West. An unforgettable memory was the handshake Commander in Chief Fidel Castro Ruz gave Commodore Jose Miguel Diaz Escrich when he was accompanying Susie Maronie who had been invited by the Council of State twice to meet Fidel Castro.

The existing relationship with many nautical and water sports institutions of Cuba has been very profitable and useful on all senses. It is worth mentioning the good working relations with different Cuban marinas companies such as Gaviota, Nautica y Marinas MARLIN, Geocuba, Rumbos, ARGUS and the Group of Naval History of the Cuban Navy with which we have worked in the organization of nautical events, literary competitions devoted to get back the naval history in the promotion of its products through a number of well specialized nautical magazines in the establishment of contacts to sale abroad nautical charts as well as boat repairing services which has been promoted abroad too. We have collaborated with Cuban enterprises putting them in contact with foreign companies interested in doing business in the Cuban nautical tourism. We have also worked with the Cuban Nautical Federation, the Cuban Sport Fishing Federation and the Cuban Kayak and Canoe Federation and other water sports federations.

It is important to emphasize that nautical events have not only been held in Marina Hemingway and Havana but also in other Cuban provinces.

The HIYC of Cuba owns one of the biggest collections of nautical bibliography existing in Cuba, with quite a lot of information about this sector. All this has allowed us to offer advise, prepare conferences and organize academic events with the participation of personalities of the recreational boating industry around the world, as it happened in 1995 in the Seminar on the  Potential of Nautical Tourism in Cuba in which more than 30 Americans participated and in the framework of the Tourism Convention Havana/1998, The Recreational Boating in the Caribbean was held and there participated representatives of the United States, Canada, Mexico, Caribbean and United Kingdom among other countries. We have also given courses and conferences to train Cuban people on nautical tourism.

The HIYC of Cuba has exerted many efforts to contribute to the development of yachting, sports, recreation and above all the nautical tourism in our country. Just a few months before celebrating the fifteenth anniversary, the staff of this Cuban nautical institution feels delighted with the results achieved and determined to continue contributing to the development of the boating industry in Cuba.