Yacht club renews effort to hold sail race to Cuba


The Sarasota Yacht Club Charitable Foundation says it plans a second attempt to hold a landmark race from Sarasota, Fla., to Havana.

Last year, after much planning and pre-race events, the yacht club canceled the event because the federal government decided not to sanction it.

Yacht club officers are optimistic that they can get government approval for the race to Cuba, which would start May 14, 2011.

"Realistic hopes are high that the race will come to be this spring," said Vincent Di Pano, chairman of the race committee.

Only U.S. charities would share in the proceeds from the event. Mote Marine Laboratories, along with the American Cancer Society and the Sarasota Youth Sailing Program, would be the beneficiaries of the regatta.

Mote has been approved to conduct an educational visit to Cuba in December and again next spring, according to Di Pano.

To date, more than 120 yachts have signed up for the 260-mile trip to the finish line at the entrance to the Hemingway Marina in Havana.

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