20th Anniversary of Hemingway International Yacht Club of Cuba
By: Mercedes Ramos / Photos by José Tito Meriño
A seaman by nature and extensive experience, Commodore José Miguel Díaz Escrich stands at the helm of Cuba's Hemingway International Yacht Club boasting 20 years of admirable work favoring the strengthening of friendships and collaboration relations with other yacht clubs and boating enthusiasts.
Founded on May 21, 1992, Cuba's Hemingway International Yacht Club has fortified Cuba's water sports image and established strong bonds of friendship with the international sailing community, both main objectives of the institution's founding philosophy, noted Commodore Escrich.
In an interview with Cubaplus, Escrich talked about the Club's work during the last two decades: “I am very proud of the Club's work and the role it has played in our country's water sports image strengthening”.
“During almost all of its' 20 years of operation, this Cuban institution has traveled a brief distance of Cuba's nautical history, a distance no one can ignore since the friendly relations with the international sailing community are indestructible.”
Recalling the founding of the club Escrich expressed: “I can tell you that Cuba was in the middle of an unknown world, a world made of millions of people who love recreation and water sports activities, associated, or not, to institutions such as yacht clubs, cruise companies associations or members of institutions related to the recreational sailing industry. The first objective was to establish friendly relations with that world unknown in Cuba”.
The Club was initially founded with only 28 partners from Spain, Italy, France and the United States and now celebrates with 2 140 partners from 60 countries. The Club is ready to welcome all those willing to support and recognize the institution and, above all, sea lovers.
Among the most important activities undertaken by the Club is the Ernest Hemingway Marlin Fishing Tournament which was about to disappear in the 1990's. “However, through its partners, the Club managed to keep this event alive and today it is part of our country's heritage”, said Commodore Escrich.
“Today”, he added, “we have friendly relations with hundreds of yacht clubs from all corners of the world.”
“Our Club has also the honor of representing Cuba in several cruise associations from around the world. Such is the case with the Ocean Cruising Club and Cruising Association, both from the UK, Trans-Ocean and Kreuzer-Abteilung from Germany, as well as similar associations in Switzerland and Austria, the Yacht Owners Association of Sweden and the International Game Fish Association. We also maintain very good relations with the Seven Seas Cruising Association of the United States.”
Referring to the Club's prospects, Escrich said its goal, internationally, is to continue working on the expansion and strengthening of friendly and cooperative relationships with the international sailing community while domestic objectives include the thousands of Cubans that are eager to enjoy the benefits offered by this archipelago of thousands of islands, islets and beaches.
“I invite the whole of the international sailing community to celebrate, together with our partners, the 20th anniversary of Cuba's Hemingway International Yacht Club and I assure you that we will keep doing our job with heart, soul, and passion for loving the sea is to love peace” said Commodore Escrich.
On May 21st, 2012, the Hemingway International Yacht Club of Cuba (HIYC of Cuba) will be celebrating its 20th Anniversary. For this special occasion, you and the international sailing community are invited by Commodore Escrich to participate in the celebratory activities to be held in the weeks leading up to and after the anniversary date.
The celebration has already begun. In honor of the 20th Anniversary, American Diana Nyad attempted to swim across the Florida Straits between Havana and Key West. Optimist, Laser, Hobby Cat and cruising boat races, Jet Ski, canoes and kayak races, a shore fishing tournament at Havana Seafront and other water sport events are all on the agenda as part of the festivities. Several academic activities also stand out in the program:
The “80 Years of USA-Cuba Nautical Relations: Present and Perspectives” workshop, on April 26th and 27th. The “Nautical Recreation in Cuba: Present and Future Development” conference will be delivered by Commodore Escrich on May 17th and 18th.
The “Climate Change and Billfish Species Migration: Circle Hook Instructional Presentation and Tagging Research” conference on May 28th. On the same day starts the 62nd “Ernest Hemingway” International Billfish Fishing Tournament.
At noon on April 27th, the “20th Anniversary of HIYC of Cuba” race from Marina Hemingway to the Havana Morro Castle will take place in remembrance of the participants in the Tampa-Havana Race, on March 1930.
On May 21th, at 8:00 pm, the HIYC of Cuba and its members will dress up to formally receive with great pleasure all friends and members of the international sailing community.
The participation of international sailing community members will be a token of friendship, support and recognition for the Cuban yacht club which has been very important for us all over these past 20 years. It will be a pleasure for the Board of Directors and members of the HIYC to welcome you as friends and members of the sailing community.