German boater sets new Florida to Cuba record

Roger Klueh has smashed the Florida to Cuba record in 1h45m, beating the previous best time that had stood for 57 years

German businessman and powerboat fanatic Roger Klüh smashed the Florida to Cuba record on Saturday (August 1), following the first speed run on this passage in 57 years.

The previous record of 6h23m had stood since 1958, when American driver Forest Johnson made the 90-mile passage.

In the following years Cuba underwent a Communist revolution and diplomatic relations between the USA and Cuba soured, making powerboat racing between the two nations impractical.

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However, with Barack Obama and Raul Castro keen to improve relations, the stage was set for Klüh to call on more than half a century of advances in powerboating technology.

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The result was a new Flordia to Cuba record of 1h45m and a top speed in excess of 80 knots from his 2,700hp Apache Star (pictured above).

The vessel was built in Fort Meyers by McManus Superboats and fitted with twin 1,350hp turbo-charged Mercury engines.

And while the hull has been smashing records since the 1990s, this latest incarnation was restored and refitted at a total cost of $2million (£1.28m).

Key features include carbon-fibre seats, a Kevlar and carbon-fibre hull, and a shock-absorbing cockpit floor.

However, Apache Star’s glory may be short-lived – with diplomatic relations between the US and Cuba easing, we can expect many more Florida to Cuba record attempts in the future.

Indeed, Klüh and his three-man crew are hoping to beat their own record in the return run, which will take place later on today.


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