20 Years of Hemingway International Yacht Club of Cuba
The Hemingway International Yacht Club of Cuba (HIYC of Cuba) just celebrated its 20th anniversary amid great acclaim for its decisive impact on the development of recreational fishing and the continued commitment to encouraging the love of the sea as an element to foster friendship, solidarity, security and peace among nations.
Among the celebrities who praised the work of the Yacht Club as a nonprofit institution was the president of the International Game Fish Association (IGFA), Rob Kramer, who commended the club's efforts to promote sea interest among young people.
The president of the IGFA, which has offices in some 120 countries around the world, participated in the HIYC anniversary celebrations that took place for over a month until May 21. According to Kramer, there are some 100 million people in the world today that are engaged in recreational fishing and most of them look for places like the club located west of Havana to practice their hobby.
Among others who expressed their praise for HIYC's work was celebrated sailor Peter Jensen from the International Council of Marine Industry Associations (ICOMIA), which has a presence in 40 countries worldwide. So did representatives of the International Federation of Maritime and Naval Leagues and Associations as well as the Yacht Club from Greece and twenty marine associations whose representatives visited Cuba for the celebration.
Likewise, Captain Eugene Ivan brought a congratulatory message from Cayman Islands Prime Minister, while Francisco Quiroga, Grand Master of the European Sailing Guild emphasized the work of the Cuban marina as an example for sea-loving people.
Founded on May 21, 1992, the Cuban marine institution and the marina where it is located are named after Ernest Hemingway, who was IGFA vice president and an active participant in most fishing tournaments organized by the marina.
The anniversary ceremony held at the club proved to be the best occasion to acknowledge the assistance of associated marine institutions, as well as the work performed by its members, founders and, especially the work of Commodore José Miguel Díaz Escrich, a man known for his ability to motivate and bring together the efforts of sailors from different latitudes, regardless of their political views, for the protection of the sea and its environment.
The HIYC of Cuba has 2,165 members from 60 countries. The club is mainly known for the annual organization of the Ernest Hemingway Marlin Fishing Tournament, which held its 62nd edition in May 2012.
The month long celebration included a sail boat regatta on April 27th that took place along an 18 mile stretch from the mouth of the Almendares River to the Morro Castle, at the entrance of the Havana Bay and back to the finish line at the Marina Hemingway.
Participating in the regatta were boats with flags from the United States, Italy, France, Canada, United Kingdom, Brazil, Spain and China. According to the organizers, relevant cruising associations like the Ocean Cruising Club, Cruising Association and Trans-Ocean, all of them represented in Cuba by the Hemingway International Yacht Club, were present at the event.
During the celebrations, the Club's management signed an agreement with the Environmental Defense Fund from the USA (EDF) for marine ecosystems preservation in the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea area.
A plaque with a phrase by Cuban National Hero José Martí and placed in his honor, was unveiled at the Yacht Club during the celebrations. The phrase reads: “After the sea, the most admirable of creations is a man.”