A couple of weeks ago we brought you news of the new friendliness of Cuba towards cruising sailors. Now a delighted Jose Escrich, Commodore of the Hemingway International Yacht Club and most prominent of those working towards increasing yacht tourism to Cuba, has filled in some of the details.
Just one of the hundreds of idyllic sailing anchorages in Cuba
The most important of these is that foreign yachts can stay five or more years in Cuban’s marinas.
The most recent Official Gazette of the Republic of Cuba, Decree No. 314, article 47 , provides that foreign pleasure vessels will be able to remain in the Cuban territory up to five years, a period that will be able to be prorogued by the marina in which the yacht is docked. Sail-World takes this to mean that, if you sail for six months and go home for six months each year, your yacht could, without extension, stay in Cuba for ten years. Individual marinas can also extend this period.
Under this regulation, if a yacht's owner is absent for an extended period, he or she must sign a contract with the marina to ensure the safekeeping of the boat and the services required.
It is important also to note that this new regulation also eliminates the 5% of the value of the boat that previously the owner had to pay for staying in Cuba more than one year.
In the same Gazette also was published Resolution 442 of 2013 of the Ministry of Finance and Prices, which establish that the payment of tax for entry and exit procedures and the Special Cruising Permit is 55 Cuban convertible pesos (Cuban dollars) at the time of entry and exit to Cuban territory.
'The Hemingway International Yacht Club of Cuba welcomes this new regulations,' said Commodore Escrigh, 'which will provide to continue enlarging friendship's relationships and collaboration with the international yachting community and offering its members all the possible collaboration, help and assistance for safe and happy sailing among those more than 3000 islands and keys that comprise the Cuban archipelago.
It's also good news that the legislation also establishes a definition for 'marinas', with rules for planning, development and preservation.
The clearance process of pleasure boats from abroad will be managed by the harbor master of the given marina.
It sounds almost civilised, and all those who are not affected by the USA's attitude to yachts embarking on journeys to Cuba will find the five-year-rule something that can work well - particularly for those who habitually sail the Caribbean.