'Salty Dawgs' Complete Rally To Cuba

By Rich Armstrong

The Salty Dawg Sailing Association hosts several rallies, rendezvous, and blue-water sailing seminars for the sailing community, including one to Cuba.

Commodore Jose Escrich of the Hemingway International Yacht Club presents the HIYC burgee to rally director Hank George and Seale GeorgeFrom left, Commodore Jose Escrich of the Hemingway International Yacht Club presents the HIYC burgee to rally director Hank George and Seale George.

On April 17, a fleet of 124 sailors aboard 23 vessels departed Marina Hemingway for the U.S. East Coast in the final leg of the inaugural Salty Dawg Rally to Cuba.

The Hemingway International Yacht Club (HIYC) in Havanna officially welcomed the nonprofit Salty Dawg Sailing Association (SDSA) with a party and closed the visit with a farewell dinner, complete with a signing ceremony of a "Friendship Agreement" between the two organizations, performance by a Cuban rock band, a pig roast, an exchange of burgees, and the presentation of a plaque from SDSA to commend HIYC on its 25th anniversary.

"Rallies such as this ... will help to build stronger bonds between Cuba and the USA in general, and their sailing communities in particular," said rally director Hank George. "We look forward to more such events by the Salty Dawg Sailing Association."

SDSA hosted this rally for American vessels in compliance with Office of Foreign Assets Control requirements for U.S. vessels and persons. Participants did research on a range of topics of interest to others who may visit Cuba, from marine issues to Cuban culture and cuisine. The research findings are to be posted on the SDSA web site on or about June 1.

Vessels in the rally departed Virgin Gorda in late March and others from Key West in early April, visiting Cuba for two weeks as part of an educational-based people-to-people exchange.

From BVI and USVI, the rally was a natural, with a downwind passage from the Caribbean back to the U.S. via Cuba. Donated supplies were also transported by Salty Dawg vessels to be given to Cuban artists, craftspersons, and specialty clubs.

Classic American carHavanna is know for its abundance of restored classic American cars.

The Salty Dawg Sailing Association is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit educational organization that hosts several rallies, rendezvous, and blue-water sailing seminars. Memberships are available for anyone interested in blue-water sailing or long-distance cruising. More than 2,000 sailors and 500 boats have participated in Salty Dawg Rallies, and more than 1,400 sailors subscribe to notification of Salty Dawg events.  

— Published: May 2017


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