10th Edition of Conch Republic Cup

Published on November 5th, 2017

Key West, FL (November 5, 2017) – The Conch Republic Cup (CRC) announced the 10th Edition of the Key West Cuba Race Week to be held January 26 – February 3, 2018.

“In celebration of the historic relationship between Key West and Havana we wish to renew the peace, love and friendship that are promoted through this event,” said CRC Executive Director, Karen Angle during a recent visit with Commodore Jose Miguel Diaz Escrich of Hemingway International Yacht Club of Cuba.

This year the race promises to be better than ever with the support of Key West Community Sailing Center, Key West Yacht Club and the Hemingway International Yacht Club of Cuba. This week long event is designed to give competitors the chance to cross the waters of the Gulf Stream to and from Cuba as well as race against Cuban sailors in the Torreon de la Chorrera Buoy Race.

The two islands of Cuba and Key West have been closely linked for over 175 years. Key West is closer to Havana than it is to Miami. In 1890, Key West had a population of over 18,000 and was the wealthiest per capita city in Florida. Half the residents were said to be of Cuban origin, and Key West regularly had Cuban mayors, including the son of Carlos Manuel de Céspedes, father of the Cuban Republic. José Martí also made several visits to Key West seeking recruits for the Cuban Independence. He founded the Cuban Revolutionary Party during his visits to Key West.

The sailing history between Cuba and Key West began with ships sailing between the two islands for the purpose of trade. Once commercial shipping began to use fuel the ways of the sailing ships passed into the history books. However the tradition of sailing between Cuba and the US has continued with several events and races from all over Florida. The Florida Keys has the Conch Republic Cup that Commodore Escrich from Hemingway International Yacht Club of Cuba helped to start in 1997 with Peter Goldsmith from the Key West Sailing Club, which is now the Key West Community Sailing Center.

Today among sailors the crossing between Cuba and Key West is still on their bucket list. The Florida Straits has always been seen as a challenging body of water due to the strong current of the Gulf Stream and intense nature of the winds. This year the race will go directly to Hemingway Marina due to proposed US policy changes.

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Source: Conch Republic Cup

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