Von Florida nach Kuba: Düsseldorfer Roger Klüh knackt Speedboat-Rekord

From Florida to Cuba: Roger Klüh from Düsseldorf breaks the speedboat record

German entrepreneur Roger Klüh broke the speedboat record between the USA and Cuba. In one hour and 45 minutes, the man from Düsseldorf drove his "Apache Star" from Key West in Florida to Havana on Saturday.

When Roger Klüh whips through Havana Bay with his "Apache Star", cheers break out on the coastal promenade of the Cuban capital. Thousands of people applaud the man from Düsseldorf, who has just broken an almost 60-year-old record for the journey from the USA to Cuba with his racing boat. With a flower necklace around his neck, he is celebrated in the harbor by his family, friends and enthusiastic Cubans.

Only 160 kilometers separate the USA and Cuba. But the capitalist superpower and the socialist Caribbean island are worlds apart. Although the arch-enemies have been approaching each other cautiously for several months, the ideological rifts between Washington and Havana are still deep.

"I'm glad that the United States is approaching Cuba," Klüh told the German Press Agency on Saturday after his arrival in Havana. "It enabled me to make my dream come true."

Three years of preparation

Kluh had been preparing for his record attempt in the Straits of Florida for more than three years. However, the US authorities repeatedly rejected his application for permission to travel from Key West to Cuba. Only the most recent détente made the project possible. "It is a heroic gesture to have overcome so many adversities," says the head of the Hemingway Nautical Club in Cuba, José Miguel Díaz.

The son of multi-service provider Josef Klüh from Düsseldorf, who is worth millions, needs just one hour and 45 minutes for the journey. The previous record was six hours and 23 minutes and was set in 1958.

The former ice hockey pro relies on the latest technology for his hell of a ride. His 15 meter long racing boat has 2700 hp and can reach speeds of up to 90 knots (167 kilometers per hour). In 1993 and 1994 the "Apache Star" won the world championships in Key West. The boat was recently extensively modernized.

Minor problems on the way to the record

However, the record run did not go completely smoothly. At times, the four-person team loses contact with the escort helicopter. In addition, the men have to fix an engine failure on the way. Still, Klüh couldn't take the record away.

However, sporting success is not the decisive factor for Klüh on this day. "I have more important things to do than looking at the clock," he says. He also wanted to connect the two coasts in a figurative sense.

On December 17, US President Barack Obama and his Cuban counterpart Raúl Castro announced that they would normalize relations between their countries after more than 50 years of ice age. A few days ago, embassies from both countries reopened in Washington and Havana.

Nevertheless, there is still a lot of potential for conflict. The issue of human rights violations in Cuba is one of the sticking points that continue to stand between Havana and Washington. The US trade embargo against the Caribbean island is also largely in place. "With this record begins a new stage and a new chance for hope and optimism," says yacht club boss Díaz.

Source: RP Online

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