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Apache Star Sets World Record from Key West to Cuba

Although communications between the team and its counterparts in the Unites States have been limited, Apache Powerboats confirmed that Saturday’s world record run from Key West, Fla., to Havana, Cuba, was set in a speedy 1 hour, 30 minutes by the crew aboard the Apache Star V-bottom.

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Powered by twin Mercury Racing 1350 engines, the restored Apache Powerboats V-bottom established a world record from Key West to Cuba on Saturday. All photos courtesy OnCuba.com

Owned by Roger Kluh, a 50-year-old entrepreneur, boat enthusiast and hockey star from Germany, Apache Star traversed the 110-nautical-mile crossing behind the efforts of offshore powerboating legend Mark McManus operating the throttles, Kluh driving, engineer John Pompi at the gauges and navigator Damien Sauvage.

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Apache Star owner Roget Kluh stopped for a 15-minute celebratory Cuban cigar break after reaching the Cuban Official Finish Line.

Originally built as the Apache Heritage by McManus in the early ’90s, the V-bottom was mothballed by the original owner until McManus convinced him to sell it. Over the past two years, Apache has been restoring and modernizing the Kevlar and carbon-fiber deep-V raceboat powered by a pair of turbocharged Mercury Racing 1350 engines.

The crossing was the first one since 1963 in which an American-built pleasure boat with an American crew had been authorized by the U.S. government to visit Cuba. Although a much longer run as he departed from Miami, the record for the fastest Florida-to-Cuba crossing was set in 1958 by Forest Johnson in a time of 6 hours, 24 minutes, which bested the original record set in 1922 by Gar Wood.

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Escorted by a local vessel, the Apache Star team arrives in Havana. 

The Apache Star left Stock Island Marina in Key West at 10 a.m. on Saturday and tackled the open-ocean conditions with little stress before landing at its final destination, the Hemingway International Yacht Club in Havana where it was on display for two days.

“It was a successful mission with challenging 3- to 9-foot rollers,” McManus said in a brief press release, which also said the boat will return to Key West on Monday.

Another record will be held by the Apache Star when the boat returns on August 3 as there is no official record for the time from Cuba to Florida.