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Posted August 27, 2007 by publisher in Cuba Travel

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A cadre of boatyards - Cuba’s future recreational vessel repair facilities

By Don Barr | CubaCruising.net

When the political climate changes in Cuba, and more boaters are cruising its waters, will opportunities exit for them to have quality work done at Cuban yards? I enthusiastically think so.

Having completed several boat building and repair projects in Cuba over the last ten years, I have observed Cuba’s well-sheltered bays and have worked in its many boat yards using their respective equipment and labor. Currently, there are no travel lifts at any yard in Cuba, and hauling is done with marine railways or large cranes. Though the machinery is old, the yards are generally well equipped and accommodate large vessels with panamax-size drydocks.

Since most yachts arriving from the north will likely cruise west around the island, this article focuses on the seven main boat yards located in the area spanning Havana to Cienfuegos.

The author talks about the following boatyards in Cuba:

Marina Hemingway
Astigal in Casablanca
Chullima on the Almendares River
Nueva Gerona on the Isla de la Juventud
La Esperanza and Los Arroyos


  1. Follow up post #1 added on October 14, 2008 by Anatasio Blanco

    Very interesting. I’ve interviewed on several occasions, the actual owners of the Casablanca yards who are currently in exile. The family has been quite busy for the past few years, making preparations to bring the yards back to life. Some of the younger members of the family have even visited the yards personally in recent years. A Board of Directors still meets and they have high hopes with regards to the rebuilding of the yard, which although still in operation, pales to what it once was historically. What struck me was the way they spoke about workers and the need to provide inexpensive, quality housing for them, health care, etc.

    I’ve also interviewed some of the workers from the pre-Castro era who are still alive. They all spoke so positively about the manner in which the operation was originally run and the downward spiral of management and treatment once Fidel took over.



  2. Follow up post #2 added on October 14, 2008 by publisher with 3905 total posts

    Thanks for the comment. We built the site http://PortOfHavana.com so if you have any photos and/or stories, I’m happy to post them there.

    Cuba consulting services

  3. Follow up post #3 added on October 14, 2008 by Anatasio

    Hi there,

    Actually, I know a photojournalist whose been compiling information on Cuba-related stories. You can find images relating to the Casablanca shipyards here:




  4. Follow up post #4 added on December 17, 2009 by etoken with 2 total posts

    My mom and dad (dad just suddenly passed away this past July) had a sailboat they used across the carribean and south america. While they loved the idea of visiting Cuba, they never broke the U.S. law to enter the waters there.

    Last month, while the boat was en route to Key West, a third party captain hired by my mom somehow ran the boat into a reef in cuban waters. The U.S. coast guard was able to rescue the men off the sailboat, but the Cuban coast guard allowed only the rescue of men, not the boat itself.

    Sort of reaching at straws here but… We are trying to determine the outcome of mom’s boat - Sailing Vessel Columbine - a 40 foot Valiant sailboat. This is a very tragic end to a very beautiful boat, and a continued tragic end to the beautiful life of my father.

    Any words of wisdom on this topic greatly appreciated…

  5. Follow up post #5 added on December 17, 2009 by sailor with 5 total posts

    Do you know the area in Cuba where the yacht ran on the reef ?
    Don Barr

  6. Follow up post #6 added on December 17, 2009 by etoken

    Don; yes, the boat ran aground on the western end… there is a large bay shaped by reef and thinning mainland. Columbine hit the northwestern point of a large bay shaped by the reef on the north and the southern tip that shoots south west as the mainland thins out. I have the exact coordinates. you can contact me at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).
    Thanks. smile

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