German entrepreneur Roger Klüh wants to break the speedboat record between the USA and Cuba. With his "Apache Star" he plans to cover the 160-kilometer distance between Cayo Hueso in Florida and the Cuban capital Havana in under two hours, as the son of the millionaire Düsseldorf multi-service provider Josef Klüh said in Cuba on Thursday. The previous record is six hours and 23 minutes and dates back to 1958.
Klüh's 15-meter racing boat has 2700 horsepower and is capable of speeds of up to 90 knots (167 kilometers per hour). In 1993 and 1994, the "Apache Star" won the world championships in Key West. Most recently, the boat underwent extensive modernization. "For me, it's an object of art. There is nothing like it in the U.S. or the rest of the world," Klüh said.
The German sees his record attempt on August 1 not only as a sporting showdown, but also as a contribution to international understanding: "I hope to be able to build a bridge for the future with the trip, so that water sports fans from the U.S. and Cuba can do similar events in the future."
Klüh has been planning the record drive for three years now
As a sign of rapprochement between the hostile states, athletes had crossed the distance between the U.S. and Cuba in various ways in recent years. In 2013, American Diana Nyad was the first to swim from Havana to Florida without a protective cage. Her compatriot Benjamin Friberg paddled through the strait on a surfboard.
Klüh has been planning the speedboat trip through the Caribbean for three years. In the wake of détente between the U.S. and Cuba, he says both countries have now given their permission. "A window has opened to make my dreams come true," said the former professional ice hockey player.