Southern Coast of Cuba

Words by Capt Shane McClellan

Found in the 2024 Winter Issue

After spending 11 years in the Virgin Islands and Eastern Caribbean running charters aboard my Lagoon 410, Guiding Light, it was time to set sail westward. We started on the southern coast of Puerto Rico and then to the Dominican Republic (both of these adventures can be read in the past issues of Lats & Atts). Now it is time to relay our adventures in Cuba, which started two nights before we even got there.

Lily and I greeted my cousin aboard the Guiding Light in Pepillo Salcedo, Dominican Republic (less than half a mile from the Haitian border on the north coast). After taking her to one of the Seven Brothers Cays we set off at 5pm with a lovely 10-15 knot breeze from the NE and 230 miles until landfall in Santiago de Cuba. Everything was going well for the first five hours, but then I noticed a thunderstorm heading our way. We already had the first reef in the main (as I almost always do in open water), but I added the second reef (good until 30-35 knots) before the storm reached us. As I watched the winds quickly jump from 12 knots to 28 knots I chose to add the third reef. As the wind and NOISE increased I ran from side to side to get the main reefed a third time and roll in some of the jib. While I was doing that my cousin was yelling out wind speeds, direction, boat speed, and other useful info from the helm. Talking loudly to be heard over the wind I told Lily (who had only been offshore twice before in benign conditions) I needed this and that, which she provided as she stood in the doorway like a deer in the headlights. As I passed her from one side to the other getting stuff done, I heard her mumbling and asked her loudly “What? What are you saying?” That is when she yelled back “I’m not saying anything. I’m praying!!!” Haha, God bless her! The winds quickly abated and we ended up motor sailing the rest of the way….


Read the Full Story and see more great photos – Click Here!

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