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St. Pete Yacht Club friends its Cuban equivalent

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

As St. Petersburg officials continue to make a case for becoming home to a Cuban consulate, the St. Petersburg Yacht Club entered into a friendship agreement with the Hemingway International Yacht Club of Cuba this past weekend.

A photo posted on St. Pete Yacht Club’s Facebook page shows Commodore Richard Winning smiling and shaking hands with the Cuban club’s Commodore José Miguel Díaz Escrich.

Since his 2015 visit to the island nation, St. Pete Mayor Rick Kriseman has made attracting a Cuban consulate to his city one of his top priorities. Though Cuba arguable has a much more rich history in Tampa, Mayor Bob Buckhorn has had lackluster enthusiasm for having a consulate in his city.

The Hemingway International Yacht Club of Cuba is named after Earnest Hemingway. It’s Cuba’s largest marina with space for up to 400 vessels. However, the marina can only currently manage 100 because most slips are in disrepair, a continuing problem for the nation as it struggles under the U.S. trade embargo.

As relations normalize, however, it’s expected Cuba will begin to recover.

Despite marina’s disrepair, the Cuban club has had years of success. It was established in 1992 “with the objective of contributing to the development of recreational sailing and nautical tourism in Cuba through the fulfillment of competitions and nautical events for friendly and nonprofit purposes, and promoting friendly relations and cooperation with other yacht clubs, marinas and the international boating community in general.”

The club has participated in numerous international events with countries such as Spain and Mexico, even the U.S. Races run between various Caribbean nations and an annual race goes between the Cuban marina and Spain.

The Hemingway Yacht Club has hosted descendants of Ernest Hemingway including his grandchildren Patrick and Mina, and niece Hilary.

Janelle Irwin has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in the Tampa Bay area since 2003. She also hosts a weekly political talk show on WMNF Community radio. Janelle formerly served as the sole staff reporter for WMNF News and previously covered news for and various local neighborhood newsletters. Her work has been featured in the New York Daily News, Free Speech Radio News and Florida Public Radio and she's been interviewed by radio stations across the nation for her coverage of the 2012 Republican National Convention. Janelle is a diehard news junkie who isn't afraid to take on big names in local politics including Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, the dirty business of trash and recycling in St. Pete and the ongoing Pier debacle. Her work as a reporter and radio host has earned her two WMNF awards including News Volunteer of the Year and Public Affairs Volunteer of the Year. Janelle is also the devoted mother to three brilliant and beautiful daughters who are a constant source of inspiration and occasional blogging fodder. To contact, email

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