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Key West Cuba Race Week set to return

Conch Republic Cup, a group of sailors dedicated to sailing to Cuba, announced the reconstitution of its traditional Conch Republic Cup Key West Cuba Race Week.

“This had been an annual cultural exchange sporting event since 1997 until efforts were thwarted by the US government after the 2003 edition,” the group said in a statement. “Now with the normalization of relations between our nations it is again possible to renew this maritime tradition with our neighbors.”

The tradition began as a race hosted by the Key West Sailing Club (as it was known at the time) with a race from Key West to Varadero, Cuba, in the years 1997 and 1998 at the invitation of Commodore Jose Migel Diaz Escrich of Club Nautico International, Marina Hemingway.

Race organizers Peter Goldsmith and Michele Geslin coordinated with Cuban counterparts to create an event full of good racing, great fun and warm greatings between cultures.

For the 1999 edition Commodore Escrich suggested a series of races consisting of this original race as a first leg. Racing was then extended to include a buoy race in Varadero, another distance race from Varadero to Marina Hemingway in Havana and finally a race from Havana back to Key West.

“Our new lease on tradition will begin on Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2016, with a welcome reception at a TBD location in Key West and finish with awarding of the Conch Republic Cup to the overall winner at a ceremony back in Key West on Saturday, Feb. 6.,” the group states. “This year we will be including a parade of sail in front of the historic Malecon parkway in Havana and several lay days for private exploration with the option of scheduled Havana guided tours.”

Entry applications must be received by Oct. 16, with you final crew list deadline being Jan. 2, 2016.

Full information and the Notice of Race can be viewed on the website at or contact