Conch Republic Cup Fact Sheet2019-01-11T22:31:15+00:00


Conch Republic Cup / Key West Cuba Race Week

  • CRC 2017:

    • Organizing Authority: Conch Republic Cup
    • Host Clubs: Key West Community Sailing Center, Hemingway International Yacht Club of Cuba
    • Dates: January 22 – February 3, 2017
    • Key West, FL to Varadero, Cuba then Havana, Cuba and return
    • Distance Race 1: Key West to Varadero, Cuba. (approx. 110 miles)
    • Distance Race 2: Varadero, Cuba to Havana, Cuba. (approx. 100 miles)
    • Castillo del Morro Race: Coastal race of four to 10 miles around a combination of fixed and/or dropped marks.
    • Distance Race 3: Havana to Key West. (approx. 90 miles)
    • Open to PHRF cruising and racing monohulls, multihulls and schooners, with a minimum length of 26’ for monohull and 24’ for multihull
    • Registration deadline: December 15, 2016
    • Tag line: “Cultural Exchange Through Sport
  • History

    • The CRC is a historic race, inaugurated in 1997 by Peter Goldsmith and Michelle Geslin with the help of Key West Sailing Club and Commodore Escrich of Hemingway International Yacht Club of Cuba as a direct race to Varadero. (Note: KWSC ran two races in the 1970s to Varadero.) It was expanded to Havana in 1999.
    • The eighth edition of the race was held in 2016 after a 13-year hiatus due to restrictive U.S.-Cuba relations
    • In 2016, 60 boats participated with 435 sailors representing more than 25 states and five countries, making it the largest crossing to date.
  • About the CRC Organization

    • CRC has applied for status as a non-profit organization with the mission to introduce the U.S. sailing community to Cuba while also revitalizing racing in Cuba, i.e. “a cultural exchange through sport.”
    • The Conch Republic (República de la Concha) is a micro-nation declared as a tongue-in-cheek secession of the city of Key West from the U.S. in April of 1982, in response to a U.S. Border Patrol roadblock at the entrance to the Keys during the Mariel boatlift. The Conch Republic has continued as a tourism booster encompassing all of the Florida Keys, with Key West as the capital.
  • Distinguishing Characteristics

    • Round-trip racing (triangle distance race with a buoy race in the middle) – the only race where competitors can spend time racing in Cuba and have built-in time on the schedule to explore its cultural offerings.
    • Destinations: Key West, Varadero, Havana/Havana Harbor/Malecón seaside walk
    • 2016 race was the largest crossing of vessels since renewal of Cuban – American relations
    • Conch Republic spirit embodied: Peter Goldsmith, fleet captain of Key West Sailing Club when race was conceptualized in 1996, was arrested when Grand Jury in Key West subpoenaed racers in 2003. (The U.S. government had told them not to conduct the race, but the fleet went anyway; most boats returning from Cuba were boarded and cameras, GPS systems and charts were confiscated.
    • “At this time it feels good to be able to start the race series again with the blessing of the government and renew the spirit of racing with the advent of the eighth edition of the CRC,” said Goldsmith in 2015.
  • S.- Cuba Relations:

    • Since the 1960s, successive U.S. administrations have maintained a policy of economic sanctions and diplomatic isolation of Cuba (diplomatic relations were severed in 1961 during the Cold War)
    • “Cuban Thaw” December 17, 2014 (S. President Barack Obama and Cuban President Raúl Castro announced beginning the process to normalize relations between Cuba and the U.S.)
    • Diplomatic relations restored July 20, 2015 (lifting some U.S. travel restrictions/American sailors once again allowed to legally race to Cuba)
    • Previously, the last officially-sanctioned race from the U.S. to Cuba was in 1959 (SORC)


  • Sunday, January 22:

    1000-1600 Check-in and Opening of Race Village
    1200-1500 Exhibition Racing

  • Monday, January 23:

    1000-1600 Registration and Race Village Open for Business
    1200-1500 Exhibition Racing
    1600 Skippers’ Meeting
    1630-1830 Welcome Party

  • Tuesday, January 24:

    1700 Race start from Key West to Varadero

  • Wednesday, January 25:

    Arrive at Marina Gaviota, Varadero
    1700 Skippers’ Meeting
    1800 Welcome Reception at Marina Gaviota

  • Thursday, January 26:

    1700 Race start from Varadero to Havana

  • Friday, January 27:

    Arrive at Hemingway International Yacht Club (HIYC), Havana/
    1700 Skippers’ Meeting
    1800 Welcome Reception at HIYC

  • Saturday, January 28:

    Lay Day

  • Sunday, January 29:

    1000 Castillo del Morro Triangle Race and Parade along the Malecón
    1800 Awards Party at HIYC

  • Monday – Wednesday, January 30 – February 1:

    Lay Days

  • Thursday, February 2:

    1700 Race start from Havana to Key West

  • Friday, February 3:

    Arrive in Key West
    1800 Awards Party and Dinner