sail-world.com
 
 
News Home Cruising Photo Gallery Video Gallery
Sail-World.com : Of dreamers who went sailing and the puffin which inspired them
Of dreamers who went sailing and the puffin which inspired them


'Puffin and his Cuban who sailed to freedom'    .
We found this unusual cruising tale heart-warming and beautifully told by Vicki Smith who is sailing in the Bahamas with her husband Maynard on their yacht Vanish. It is of a small toy puffin on a key chain and two Cubans who had a seven-year-old dream in their hearts and set out to go sailing.

Here's the story:


There is an ancient Chinese myth about the red thread of fate. It says that the Gods have tied a red thread around every one of our ankles and have attached it to all of the people whose lives we are destined to touch.

A few months ago when Maynard and I were sitting in the back of a taxi on our way to pick up my sister from the Rockland, Maine Airport on a cold wet day, I placed my handbag on the back seat and noticed someone had left a small 2' stuffed toy puffin on a keychain in the taxi. It was cute but old and dirty and I thought I could probably find a new one in one of the shops in Rockland. As we'd just returned on Vanish from a trip out to the remote craggy Matinicus Rock to see the nesting site of the puffins, I really wanted to find a puffin souvenir. I put it in a drawer and forgot about it.

Maynard and I had never met Cubans before but our neighbours, 'A' and 'R' had been through many hurricanes in Havana and had spent 15 years working in a marina looking after all kinds of vessels. When Hurricane Sandy came along 'A' assured us that we would be fine and we both vowed to help each other if it was needed. In fact, later, he said it was the 'best hurricane he'd ever been through'.

Last week after Hurricane Sandy had passed only 50 miles from us in the Bahamas, Vanish had a small get together with our marina friends and 'A' and 'R' were there. During the get together, they began telling us an amazing story.

For seven years, these two friends had been saving their money in order to escape Cuba and all the hardships they'd endured. They'd sold everything; their cars, their computers, furniture and anything they could not take with them. They had a few clothes, some money, enormous bravery, a lot of trepidation and nothing else and they were about to embark on a plan to enter the US. This was it. They were now to become Cuban refugees. This was the culmination of seven years of planning for the hope of a richer, hopeful, happy new life. What a wild and crazy idea. We couldn't believe our ears.

They were both very emotional about leaving their wives, children, homes, and friends to embark on such a journey as they didn't know if they would make it or see their families again. If ever we've met two people who deserved a better life, then these men were it. They were intelligent, hard-working, family orientated, caring individuals and these are the great qualities on which the US is founded. Maynard and I both felt a profound connection to the men as we both admire people who have dreams and are willing to take calculated risks to improve themselves.

In 1995, President Clinton defined the immigration policy by expediting the naturalisation process. Over the years, many Cubans have made the long and dangerous ocean crossing by various methods in a desperate attempt to enter the US. Many lives have been lost over the years. We had no idea what their plan was going to be. If they were caught in the water (known as a 'wet foot'), they would be immediately deported. However, if they made it to land (known as a 'dry foot'), they would be allowed citizenship.

It turned out they were going to try to sail to the USA. The owner of the yacht Puffin on a Cuban and his wife flew into Freeport a few days after the hurricane and we observed that neither of them knew anything about sailing, and I mean nothing. What their intentions were was a mystery as we didn't speak to them but we prayed they would look after these men.

The owner was heavily intoxicated most of the time but apparently had a good heart and the intention of taking the men somewhere.

The afternoon of their departure arrived and I beckoned 'A' to come aboard to say goodbye. I wanted to give him something special, perhaps a good luck charm to carry with him. I'd looked everywhere before laying my eyes on the puffin keychain. I didn't know why I wanted to give him this puffin keychain as it was the only one I had but it wasn't really mine anyway. I quickly Googled 'puffin migration' and was astounded to see that it is still a mystery where they migrate to in winter. This was the tiny thread that linked our Cuban friends to us and the puffins. As the yacht pulled away from the dock, 'A' and 'R' both grabbed me and with tremendous emotion, said 'thank you and goodbye'.

The owner slurred, 'There's still love in the world,' as he tried leaving the berth without turning on his engine and then turned the wrong way out of the marina before realising his mistake. A 180 deg u-turn ensued and then he finally pointed the yacht towards the channel entrance. As they turned, 'A' pulled the puffin out of his pocket, clutched it as if it was a gold bar, thumped his heart with his fist and yelled, 'I will keep this forever!' and with huge smiles and tears they were gone.

They left when the forecast was favourable with 5 - 10 knots, increasing to 10 - 15 knots from the NE and seas of 2 - 3 feet. Even though we had no idea where they were going, the weather was ideal at the time but when you put your life into the hands of people who know absolutely nothing about sailing or the sea, the experience can be an absolute nightmare.

I recently received an update in Spanish about their Gulf Stream crossing which I translated using Google Translate, a nifty little helper.

'Finally I'm here in the land of freedom. I will try to tell you everything but the story is very long. Well we left that day as you know almost dark and we anchored about three miles off the coast and near the port. The weather was terrible, so bad that everything, absolutely everything in the boat except the TV broke. We could not sleep all night and at 4 am convinced the captain to start sailing. The weather the whole time was bad and the captain and the wife were eventually seasick as well. We all had terrible moments. We intended to sail into a harbour in Florida but the Captain lost our position and we were delayed. The whole trip was terrible motoring into a headwind and we were only doing 5 or 6 knots.

The captain decided to take down the sails which ended up being worse. The wind was right on the bow and we were going nowhere and really was one of the worst crossings of my life. At about 4 am after sailing for more than 24 hours, we saw lights on the horizon and we were very happy but we were still far away. A little closer to the coast we spotted a Coast Guard cutter coming right at us. That's when I was very scared. I thought all was lost and we were going to jump into the sea. Fortunately they turned back when they came very close to us (we later found out that the Coast Guard was doing manoeuvers with a helicopter above). I think we were very lucky. Well closer to the inlet the Captain wanted to call on the radio to report that they came with two Cubans. You can imagine what happened! We tried to discuss it but he didn't change his mind.

At the last minute we finally decided to jump right into the water and had to swim about 150 meters to reach the coast leaving all belongings in the boat, money, documents. Everything was lost. After two days without eating and sailing in bad weather we had no strength for anything but the need for freedom and the survival instinct was stronger than us. We reached the coast almost dead and threw ourselves into the sand. We began to cry out of joy and the shock we had endured. We were very cold and walked for 45 minutes until we came across a street where we called 911. Three police cars came, the K- 9 unit, the regular police and border patrol who took us to the detention center in Fort Lauderdale. They gave us dry clothes, food and interviewed us and took all our data. For the first time in my life I felt that the police treated me like a human being and I felt respect for them. We had no fear and felt good and from there we were taken by transport at 3 pm to the Church World Service who is in charge of Cuban immigrants.

We filled out more forms and applied for Government assistance. Right now I have one credit card and another with food stamps and I have some cash and waiting for help. We get $USD 200 per month and the initial paperwork which will allow me to get a Social Security Number and a Driver's License later. So far so good, but I will never forget what we suffered to get here nor do I forgive the Cuban Government for forcing me to do this and leave my family. (Burn in hell, Fidel!) Sorry for the expression but I could never say that in Cuba. I plan to go to California. I have my Cuban relatives who moved there one year ago and I have a job and home to stay in. I dream about my family being in Florida or California which I like and I have more calmness now until my wife have daughter join me.

I'm glad to have met you. Thanks for your support and concern. I still have the migratory bird of luck. When jumping into the sea, I just took my ID and that little bird. It honestly gave me much strength. Thank you and I wish you well. My friend is at a friend's house in the south, so he is well.

Greetings from my new land.'

We have no doubt that these two men are now extremely happy with their new found freedom and will be supporting themselves independently and their families in no time at all.

This trip has been full of odd experiences and special encounters. It's not about the places we travel to; it's all about the people we meet. Certainly, the story of 'A', 'R' and Puffin on a Cuban was good for the soul.

If you want to read more stories of the cruising life of Vicki and Maynard on Vanish, go to their blog by clicking here.


by Vicki Smith/Sail-World

  

Click on the FB Like link to post this story to your FB wall

http://www.sail-world.com/index.cfm?nid=104593

11:01 PM Mon 10 Dec 2012GMT


Click here for printer friendly version
Click here to send us feedback or comments about this story.

Click for further information on
Adventure Cruising

Related News Stories:

21 Oct 2013  No sail skills, but family has two-and-a-half year Pacific adventure
07 Oct 2013  Here's why to sail in an engineless junk-rigged schooner
20 May 2013  Guam sailors cruise to the remote Maug Islands
20 Mar 2013  Another cruising sailor sets off - then another and another...
22 Feb 2013  Sailing Tale: A first week in Cuba
12 Feb 2013  Italian sea-change sailor plans another adventure
08 Feb 2013  Sailing Tales: A yachting life in the Arctic
06 Feb 2013  Chance Encounters - sailors and whales
13 Jan 2013  Deaf solo circumnavigator, rolled in Southern Ocean, stops in Hobart
11 Dec 2012  Of dreamers who went sailing and the puffin which inspired them
MORE STORIES ...






News - USA and the World

The Notice of Race for ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami, scheduled for 25-31 January 2015, has been released. On-line entry will open on 10 November 2014. The deadline for priority entries with regards to quotas is 5 December 2014. Entries must be received no later than 5 January 2015 to qualify for early entry. ... [more]  

New Ragamuffin 100 emerges from the hull build in Nowra *Feature by Richard Gladwell/Sail-World.com/nz
Ragamuffin 100, which started out as a modified Elliott design, Maximus, is another supermaxi undergoing a major rebuild or retrofit. Across the Tasman, the new Ragamuffin 100 will be virtually a new boat with a a new hull design by Andy Dovell / Syd Fischer / David Witt. The hull mould and shell was built by Innovation Composites at the Nowra facility. ... [more]  

The International Sailing Federation (ISAF) and Rolex are happy to reveal the Nominees for the ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Awards 2014. ISAF received nominations for the 2014 Awards from across the world for sailors representing all aspects of the sport. ... [more]  

Like the name implies, the goal of the boater-funded BoatUS Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water is to educate boaters about safe and clean boating. The Foundation is looking to fund Grassroots Grant projects that utilize new, innovative approaches that encourage safe and clean boating among the boating public. ... [more]  

The 35th edition of the Rolex Middle Sea Race is fast approaching and appears likely to rewrite the record books. Entries are shortly due to close and the Royal Malta Yacht Club is already bracing itself for the biggest fleet to grace its island home since the Great Siege of 1565. The Ottoman Armada of 450 years ago was recorded to be 193 in strength. ... [more]  

A stellar list of just under 100 broadcasters has been lined up to showcase the world’s toughest ocean challenge, the Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15, to a new global audience of fans. The 12th edition has offered channels a line-up of a new 39-part weekly half-hour show plus special short bespoke features. ... [more]  

Photographer Eugenia Bakunova of leading Russian website www.mainsail.ru was on the water at Les Voiles de Saint Tropez on the French Riveria , and provided this gallery of images of the classics and other yachts racing on Day 2 ... [more]  

Southern Spars ships the world's tallest masts by Richard Gladwell, Sail-World.com/nz
Leading world sparmaker, Southern Spars, has shipped two spars for a new 85 metre ketch. The superyacht will carry two 93metre masts which will be the world’s tallest rigs on one gigantic yacht. ... [more]  

Professional sailing photographers from all over the world are invited to join the Mirabaud Yacht Racing Image award 2014. Started in 2009, the Mirabaud Yacht Racing Image is the world’s premier photography competition dedicated to the sport of sailing. The prestigious trophy will be awarded during the World Yacht Racing Forum in Barcelona, on December 11, 2014. ... [more]  

David Kellett (AUS) is to be awarded the ISAF Beppe Croce Trophy which honours an individual for their outstanding voluntary contribution to the sport of sailing. The ISAF Beppe Croce Trophy, first presented in 1988 in memory of Beppe Croce, the ISAF President from 1969 to 1986, will be presented to Kellett at the 2014 ISAF Annual Conference in Palma de Mallorca, Spain. ... [more]  

After being graced with plenty of late summer sunshine during the opening days of the event, more autumnal weather moved in on the fifth day of the DAVIDOFF Cool Water Sylt PWA Super Grand Slam with grey skies and infrequent showers. Unfortunately though the light winds continued as the sailors endured another lay day. ... [more]  

In a move that is expected to benefit recreational boaters, on Oct. 22 the US Coast Guard will drop the current life jacket type code scheme -- Type I, II, III, IV and V -- that has been used for years to label and differentiate the types of life jackets and their specific use. ... [more]  

Kate Nota and her team onboard the J/111 Odyssey won the Ripple Effect Short Video Contest, which was part of the Ida Lewis Distance Race this summer (August 15). ... [more]  

The largest Laser World Championship in history will be taking place on the south coast of France when 515 sailors, representing 36 different countries, begin racing on October 5 to open the 2014 Audi Laser Masters’ World Championships. The Laser remains one of the best and most popular boats worldwide in which to enjoy the sport of sailing. ... [more]  

Carlo Borlenghi was back on the water for day two at Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez to capture these images. ... [more]  

It has been an interesting journey so far for the Chinese team in the Volvo Ocean Race, Dongfeng Race Team. Approximately 10 months ago this team set out on a mission to select and train Chinese recruits in the hope that they would be ‘race ready’ for the start of leg 1 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15. ... [more]  

Volvo Ocean Race fans can now carry the world’s toughest ocean race in their pocket, thanks to the launch of a new official mobile app. Developed for both iOS and Android systems, the app is available for download from the App Store and Google Play now – and boasts a host of exciting features which will allow users to be closer to the on-water adventure than ever before. ... [more]  

Race teams planning next season’s calendar could do worse than sign up for the Mount Gay Round Barbados Race Series 2015 which runs from 16-24 January. This event, which kick starts the Caribbean race season, was re-launched in 2014 with a new race format and plenty of record-breaking opportunities. It proved such a success that an even bigger entry is expected in 2015. ... [more]  

Photographer Eugenia Bakunova of leading Russian website www.mainsail.ru was on the water at Les Voiles de Saint Tropez on the French Riveria , and provided this gallery of images of the classics and other yachts racing ... [more]  

Sunset+Vine|APP, the Oxford-based unit of the multi-award winning UK independent TV sports production and media company Sunset+Vine, has helped ISAF smash all previous broadcaster records for the recent Santander 2014 ISAF Sailing World Championships. ... [more]  

2014 ISAF Sailing World Cup - Melbourne - Don’t forget to enter the ISAF Sailing World Cup – Melbourne. There are only two days left to take advantage of the discounted entry price offer. ... [more]  

2014 12 Metre North American Championships - Two days of a northerly (first strong, then light) and one day of a building southwesterly put six 12 Metre yachts to the test at their North American Championships, which were held off Newport, R.I. over September 26-28. Gunther Buerman’s (Newport, R.I.) KZ-3 and Dennis Williams’ (Hobe Sound, Fla.) Victory ’83 defended their titles ... [more]  

The waiting game continued on day four of the DAVIDOFF Cool Water Sylt PWA Super Grand Slam as the light winds continued. Over the course of the day a few sailors took the opportunity to make the most of the small waves on offer, either surfing or SUPping. After spending the day on hold the sailors were released at 4:30pm. ... [more]  

After Gmunden, Austria, in 2011 and Cala de' Medici, Italy, in 2012 and after a pained second place, same points with the Portogues 'Credite Egs' in Portosin, Spain, last year, the Italian crew coming from Puglia 'Euz II Monella Vagabonda', with Sandro Montefusco at the helm and his brother Paolo as a tactician, confirms for the third time the Platu 25 World Championship title. ... [more]  

Carlo Borlenghi was on deck for the first day of competition at Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez to capture these images. ... [more]  

Photographer Ingrid Abery was on site for day one of racing at the 2014 Les Voiles de Saint Tropez to capture these images. ... [more]  

The final day of the 2014 U.S. Team Racing Championship ended up being a half day of sailing due to a complete shutdown of the wind. However, the fleet completed enough races to count Gold Round Robin 3 and crown Ladies and Gentlemen as the back-to-back Team Racing Champions. ... [more]  

Michigan, the Great Lakes State, was a fitting location as The National Sailing Hall of Fame (NSHOF) gathered for the fourth time in the organization’s history to fulfill its mission to recognize Americans who have made outstanding contributions to the sport of sailing. ... [more]  

The International Sailing Federation (ISAF) has published guidelines for candidates bidding to host the 2016 ISAF Youth Match Racing World Championship. Bids to host the 2016 ISAF Youth Match Racing Worlds must be received by Friday 24 October 2014. ... [more]  

The onboard medic-sailors competing in the upcoming Volvo Ocean Race have completed their last medical training. More than a basic first aid refresher course, the mandatory medical training each Volvo Ocean Race team had to carry out in the last few months and days are key to survival while at sea. ... [more]  

Erik Simonson was on the water at 2014 Melges 20 Pacific Coast Championship to capture these images. ... [more]  

2014 J/105 North American Championship - Light air ruled the J/105 North American Championship hosted by Royal Canadian Yacht Club in Toronto, Ontario, Canada—and so did Rod Wilmer and Terry McLaughlin on Mandate. ... [more]  

The Extreme Sailing Series event in Istanbul seems to have only just finished, but already the containers are in the Ville de Nice set to gear up for this weeks penultimate regatta. Peter Burling and Blair Tuke are back onboard this week, fresh from their 49er World Championship win and looking to make it two wins from two events for Emirates Team New Zealand on the ?Extreme Sailing Series ... [more]  

2014 Buddy Melges Challenge - Lotte Meldgaard Pedersen wins US event
America's Cup: Oracle Team USA's AC72 takes to the streets
Alpari World Match Racing Tour - Canfield wins first Dutch Match Cup
Pantaenius and Camper & Nicholsons Marinas become strategic partners
Kite Foil Gold Cup Australia 2014 – Day two video
Bart's Bash: Update and Video - Information overload!
2014 U.S. Team Racing Championship - Day 2
2014 Buddy Melges Challenge - USA leads Denmark in Sheboygan final
2014 U.S. Adult Sailing Championship - Benz Faget wins third mallory
J/105 North American Champ - Wilmer/McLaughlin team maintain advantage
Images from Cannes: Régates Royales – Trophée Panerai
Régates Royales – Trophée Panerai: Cannes at its best
Dutch Match Cup - Gilmour keeps clean sheet in Lelystad
Dutch Match Cup - GAC Pindar through to fifth consecutive semi-final
Hobie 16 Open North Americans and 2015 Pan Am Games qualifier overall
Volvo Ocean Race - Frostad on Boat Design and final changes (Part II) *Feature
Volvo Ocean Race 10 days to go – Frostad on cultural change (Part I) *Feature
2014-15 Volvo Ocean Race on NBC Sports Network in the U.S.
2014 J/24 World Championship - Will Welles’ Cougar clinches
2014 Buddy Melges Challenge - Meldgaard and Le Berre ready for semis
2014 U.S. Adult Sailing Championship - Day 3   
2014 U.S. Team Racing Championship - Day 1 + Video   
America's Cup: Then and now - Coutts on why Oracle won, and the Venue   
Byte CII World Sailing Championship comes to Royal Varuna, Thailand   
Dutch Match Cup: Canfield wins Qualifying, six set for Quarters battle   
12 Metre North Americans - A blast from the America’s Cup past   
2015 ISAF Sailing World Cup qualification system published   
Volvo Ocean Race: Mapfre named as Spanish team sponsor + Video   
Extreme Sailing Series returns to Nice for the penultimate Act of 2014   
ISAF invites bids for 2016 Women's Match Racing World Championship   
2014 ISAF Sailing World Cup, Melbourne - Teaming up   
Mascalzone Latino Jr. named 2014 Melges 20 European Ranking Champion   
2014 Buddy Melges Challenge - Le Berre keeps winning in Sheboygan   
Hobie 16 Open North American Champ and Pan Am Games Qualifier - Day 4   
2014 U.S. Adult Sailing Championship - Day 2   
J/105 North Americans - Wilmer and McLaughlin master light conditions   
J/24 World Championship - Will Welles hangs on going into last day   
Open 2.4mR World Championship on the horizon   
Bart's Bash - Top photographers gain special entry   
Platu 25 Worlds - EUZ II Monella Vagabonda is still leading in France   


For this week's complete news stories select    Last 7 Days
   Search All News
For last month's complete news stories select    Last 30 Days
   Archive News







Sail-World.com  


















Switch Default Region to:

Social Media

Asia

Australia

Canada

Europe

New Zealand

United Kingdom


http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/Twitter_logo_small.png http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/FaceBook-icon.png  http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/RSS-Icon.png

United States

Cruising Northern

Cruising Southern

MarineBusiness World

PowerBoat World

FishingBoating World

 

Contact

Commercial

News

Search

Contact Us

Advertisers Information

Submit news/events

Search Stories/Text

Feedback

Advertisers Directory

Newsletter Archive

Photo Gallery

 

Banner Advertising Details

Newsletter Subscribe

Video Gallery

Policies

 

 

 

Privacy Policy

 

 


Cookie Policy

 

 



This site and its contents are © Copyright TetraMedia and/or the original author, photographer etc. All Rights Reserved.  Photographs are copyright by law.  If you wish to use or buy a photograph contact the photographer directly.
XLXL NEW US
LocalAds   DE  ES  FR  IT