Plans Moving Ahead for International Sailing Competition

SARASOTA, FL – In preparation for a historic U.S.-Cuba regatta this spring, the Sarasota Yacht Club Charitable Foundation (SYCCF) is hosting a Feb. 10 reception for José Miguel Díaz Escrich, vice president of the Cuban Sailing Federation and commodore of the Hemingway International Yacht Club in Havana.

“Our two nations have a rich history of sailing competition,” said Kay Goodman, commodore of the Sarasota Yacht Club, which is organizing the 100-boat international regatta planned for May 16. “We are proud to be working to revive this annual international competition, which began back in the 1930s.”

As the official U.S. host for the Sarasota to Havana race, the Sarasota Yacht Club recently formed a charitable foundation that will support youth sailing programs in the U.S. and Cuba. “We look forward to bringing together the young people of both nations in a friendly competition, while enhancing the appeal of sailing,” said Don Payzant, foundation president.

Commodore Escrich will be the guest of honor at “The Commodore’s Dinner Reception,” where he will discuss the latest plans for the offshore regatta, which is subject to U.S. governmental approval. “We are excited about plans for the international regatta and look forward to welcoming all participants,” he said.

Escrich has also invited the U.S. teams to participate in the Hemingway International Yacht Club’s annual Castillo del Morro Regatta off the coast of Havana, an event that will be held June 12, shortly after the offshore competition.
Noting the Sarasota club’s internationally recognized commitment to the sport of sailing and reputation for supporting many of the world’s top sailors, Escrich said, “The charitable foundation will help establish a permanent bond of friendship and cooperation between our two yacht clubs. “

He added that there is a rich history of friendship between the Cuban Sailing Team and the U.S. boating community, noting that Gulf Coast yacht clubs regularly competed with the Hemingway Club and other Cuban teams until 1959 when the dramatic change in Cuba’s leadership changed U.S.-Cuban travel arrangements.

The Commodore’s Dinner Reception will begin at 5:00 pm on Wednesday, February 10 at the club’s interim clubhouse tent facility, 1100 John Ringling Boulevard, Sarasota. The event is open to the public and tickets are $45. For reservations, call 941-365-4191 or go to