Image by: Jeff Johnstone
The Cuba Journal recently caught up will Don Barr to discuss his sailing business that is based in Canada but mostly centered around Cuba. Together with his daughter, Cheryl Barr, Don has built a vibrant business around what most people would consider an ideal lifestyle for a retired millionaire.
Their website, CruisingInCuba.com, offers navigation resources, trip planning and cruising guides for sailors planning a Cuba journey. Though formally trained in marine science, Cheryl is a licensed captain with a 200-ton Yachtmaster certificate. Seeing the need for a new generation of guides for eastern Canada, got started writing researching “The Down East Circle Route” now in its 2nd edition and “Cruising Guide to the Canadian Maritimes”.
A desire to have a steel Herreshoff schooner led Don and his wife Tricia on a boat-building journey. As a family, they constructed their 62-foot schooner Road To the Isles over a 10-year period. Cheryl used her skill as a certified welder to help her parents build her.
As Canadians, Don and family have a much easier time than Americans plying the Cuba waters. Canadian’s don’t have to overcome the impediments imposed by America’s Cuban embargo and related travel restrictions.
Don has been a Cuba fan since 1972, when his first schooner (a Newfoundland Jack), took him along Cuba’s north coast while transiting from Haiti to Key West. Another glimpse of Cuba came in 1986 when he sailed Bluenose II close along Cuba’s south coast en route to Vancouver, BC.
It was no surprise that Road to the Isles’ maiden voyage was to Cuba, where Don could finally walk Havana’s Malecon and tour the island’s countryside. Since his first cruise in Road to the Isles he has made more than 18 passages. Having an artistic side, he also writes song lyrics (about Cuba of course). In fact, Mike Aiken recorded Don’s “Ninety Miles to Hemingway” on his Just Add Salt album.
Cheryl shares her father’s passion for southern waters. With over a dozen cruises to Cuba and several overland backpacking trips, she has enough information to fill a two volume Cuba series. Volume One is now available and she is in the process of writing Volume 2.
Copies of the Sheryl’s Cuba cruising guide can be purchased here.