Sailing in Cuba
From the base at Cienfuegos, there are two main island groups to explore along the southern shore of Cuba. Sailing westward will take you through the Canarreos Archipelago, a 90 km stretch of small to medium sized islands with hundreds of anchorages. First day's sail is to Cayo Guano del Este, a 50nm passage, at the eastern end of the archipelago - just a one mile long and one mile wide deserted key which serves as an ideal first stop. Then sail on to Cayo Largo, a tourist resort with spectacular beaches including 'Playa Sirena', the most beautiful beach in the area. Other islands, including Cayo del Rosario, Cayo Cantiles and Cayo Campos, have coral seabeds teeming with tropical fish. Visit Cayo Iguana - but don't feed the iguanas! The turtle and crocodile farms at Cayo Rico are also worth a visit. In 2 weeks you could sail round Isla de la Juventud and back to Cienfuegos.
Sailing east will bring you to the beautiful Ancón Beach near the city of Trinidad, Cayo Blanco, Cayo Machos de Afuera and Cayo Cino Balas on your way to the Jardines de la Reina marine park at Santa Cruz del Sur, a stunning, uninhabited area protected by one of the world's longest coral barrier reefs. Here you can wind your way through channels along the keys amidst a stunning variety of marine life, iguana, pelicans, flamingos and spoonbills.
Expect some long passages of 50-60nm, especially at the start of the itinerary to get from Cienfuegos to the archipelagos. Although you are not to sail at night within the reef areas, there is no objection to sailing in deep waters in the dark so you can make a daylight landfall.
Constant trade winds benefit the more sheltered south coast generally from an east to north-easterly direction. During the winter months, winds blow between 15-25 knots. Hurricanes are limited to the summer months of August to October. Experience level 3.