Original St. Petersburg to Habana Sailboat Race Is Revived
By JON WILSON, TB Reporter
The famous yachting event has not been held since 1959, but it’s back on for Feb. 28, 2017.
ST. PETERSBURG — Once a magnet for local yachtsmen and big-time sailors alike, the St. Petersburg to Habana sailboat race died in 1959 as a result of Fidel Castro’s takeover of Cuba.
But the historic race, which had its beginning in 1930, is back. After months of planning, the St. Petersburg Yacht Club has announced the Original St. Petersburg to Habana event will take place Feb. 28 to March 5, 2017. Preliminary activities are on from Feb. 25-27, and the awards ceremony will be in Cuba March 5.
Yacht Club history says that the race sailed over the same 284-nautical mile course from 1930 through 1959, although it was canceled three times during World War II, and in 1958 when the fleet was diverted to Miami because of political conditions in Cuba.
Old salts say that during the race’s last year, machine-gun fire could be heard as the boats sailed toward the finish in Havana Bay.
The race started off the Municipal Pier in St. Petersburg. Scores of spectator boats accompanied the start as hundreds of people jockeyed for position to watch from the pier or from landside. The event has enjoyed its share of nostalgia over the years and many old-timers recall it as a major event in the winter social season.
For information, go to spyc.org and click on “Habana Race.”
St. Petersburg to Habana Race | Sailing | Sports | St. Petersburg Yacht Club | TB Reporter
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