Five teams of American Hobie Cat sailboat racers departed Key West's South Beach at Saturday morning on a Key West-to-Havana race, believed to be the first U.S. government-sanctioned sailing race between the two cities in more than 50 years.
The Havana Challenge features 16-foot Hobie Cat catamarans, most skippered by Florida Keys-based sailors, navigating more than 90 miles across the Florida Straits to Cuba.
"Key West is unique in its location to Havana. We're closer to Havana than Miami, and living and growing up in Key West, you just look that direction," race co-organizer and participating sailor George Bellenger told NBC Miami. "It was a challenge I couldn't resist -- so put the sails up and sail down to Havana."