U.S. And Cuban Sailors In Friendly Race Amid Warming Relations

The Schooner Jolly II Rover sails beside the Malecon, backdropped by the Morro Fortress lighthouse, in Havana, Cuba, Tuesday, May 19, 2015. An amateur race billed as the "Havana Challenge" is taking place Tuesday for the first time with U.S. government authorization thanks to the historic easing of tensions that began in December. (AP Photo/Desmond Boylan)

The Schooner Jolly II Rover sails beside the Malecon, backdropped by the Morro Fortress lighthouse, in Havana, Cuba, Tuesday, May 19, 2015. An amateur race billed as the "Havana Challenge" is taking place Tuesday for the first time with U.S. government authorization thanks to the historic easing of tensions that began in December. (AP Photo/Desmond Boylan)

HAVANA — Competitive sailors from the U.S. and Cuba have been showing off their skills in Havana Bay as the two countries work on restoring diplomatic relations after decades of hostility.

Five crews from the Cuban national sailing team and four crews from Key West, Florida, cruised across the bay Tuesday as spectators looked on from the famed Malecon seawall. Sailors from both countries said they were excited for the rare opportunity to race against each other, though it was billed as a strictly friendly competition.

The U.S. sailors arrived over the weekend after crossing the Florida Straits to Cuba in the Havana Challenge, with the required U.S. permits for the first time.

The last official competition between U.S. and Cuban sailors was during the Pan-American games in Havana in 1991.

May. 19, 2015 4:17 PM EDTAP

 
 

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