The crossing became the first time since 1963 that an American pleasure boat with an American crew has been authorized by the US government to visit Cuba.
‘…I operated the boat as aggressively as I could within safe limits, to try to take care the wellbeing of my crew.” – Mark McManus
The Crew of the Apache Star departed towards Havana Cuba at 10:15am EST from the Stock Island Marina Village in Key West. They experienced rougher than expected seas of 8-10 feet, 60 miles into the trip. The Crew arrived at the Port of Havana 1 hour and 30 minutes later, breaking all previously established records by almost 5 hours.
“ When we arrived at the dock, people were singing and chanting…” – Mark McManus
“The people of Cuba are a warm and happy group of people…” – Mark McManus
A sudden loss in GPS signal occurred 28 miles away from the Port of Havana, all 3 GPS navigation devises on-board the Apache Star lost reception. The Apache Star crew relied on two backup navigation systems which allowed the successful completion of this historic mission.
“Roger Kluh, the driver did a great job steering the boat” – Mark McManus
All four members of the Crew are safely back State-side, the Apache Star is currently at the International Hemingway Yacht Club dry dock awaiting service and maintenance in preparedness for the return to Key West later this month.
The previous record for the fastest Florida-to-Cuba crossing was set in 1958 by Forest Johnson, with a time of six hours, 24 minutes. This beat the original record, set in 1922 by Gar Wood.