Though they won’t be arriving in Havana by water as they did last year, participants in the Florida Powerboat’s Club still will enjoy a Cuban adventure. Photo courtesy of the Florida Powerboat Club.
By the time yesterday evening rolled around, Florida Powerboat Club president Stu Jones was fried. Jones and his staff had spent the day scrambling to find flights from Miami to Cuba for club members on Thursday as he had to scrub that day’s planned crossing from Key West to Havana for seven boats—five center consoles and two V-bottom sports—because conditions were just too dangerous.
“Thursday’s forecast is for 25-knot winds and seven- to 10 foot seas,” he said. “The weather forecast, and I look at all of them, is tumultuous and all of them say it’s going to be blowing. I had a few people who said they still wanted to go by boat, and I said, ‘No, you can’t.’ Almost 10 people have canceled, and they’re going to be walking away from $10,000 deposits already paid for the hotels, tour operators and visas, when all they have to do is buy a $300 airplane ticket. Half of the group, 20 or 25 people, has already been accommodated. We’re still working on it for a few more.”
Wind and sea conditions in the Florida Straits between Key West and Cuba, Jones said, likely would be even worse than forecasted. “Last year, it was twice as big as they said it was going to be,” he said. “The Florida Straits are different—they’re like a ‘Gulf Stream’ moving from west to east. Then you get a really a strong wind out of the east and the seas start piling up. That’s when you start losing ships.