According to Scuttlebutt Sailing News, sailing teams racing monohulls and multihulls are to compete in races from the Florida Keys to two Cuban cities during the 13-day Conch Republic Cup. The event, also known as Key West Cuba Race Week, starts Sunday, Jananury 22, 2017 and continues through Friday, February 3.
The 2017 event is to be the second Conch Republic Cup (CRC) since the U.S. and Cuba restored diplomatic relations. The historic race began in 1997 with a Key West race to Varadero and expanded to Havana in 1999. This will be its 9th edition.
Currently, 25 boats in three classes (PHRF Spinnaker, PHRF Non-Spinnaker, Multihull) and six support vessels – with more than 200 sailors to represent more than 13 states – are competing in this year’s edition of the Conch Republic Cup / Key West Cuba Race Week.
CRC 2016 ended successfully in February 2016 with a fleet of 54 racing sailboats, 6 support vessels and a total of 435 people visiting both Varadero and Havana, Cuba. This is the largest crossing of racing vessels and persons since relations have begun to normalize. During the traverse from Varadero to Havana one vessel was given permission for a Cuban-born American to sail the distance arriving in Havana – one of the first Cuban-born Americans to do so in over 50 years.
A Cuban sailing vessels joined for the buoy races in Varadero and Havana. The first handicap accessible sailing vessel to visit Cuba, Impossible Dream, joined our race and won several trophies.
The CRC is a historic race that started in 1997 with direct race to Varadero then expanded to Havana in 1999. The triangle race as it has been coined is a traditional race to Cuba that allows the racer to complete a triangle between KW and two Cuba cities – Varadero and Havana. The race was revived with the loosening of the travel restrictions to Cuba. They had five classes of vessels participate: 2 PHRF, JAM, Multihull and Schooner.
The CRC’s mission is to introduce as many of the U.S. sailing community to Cuba as possible as well as revitalize racing in Cuba. According to the CRC, they are, “a cultural exchange through sport.”