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Racing Boats: An Option for Leisure in Cienfuegos

The Cuban province of Cienfuegos, in the central region of the largest Antillean Island, boasts, among its many attractions, the most important port on the south coast and an excellent bay of tranquil waters.

An ideal place to practice nautical sports, the Bay of Jagua, which covers an area of around 88 square kilometers (34 square miles), was discovered by Admiral Christopher Columbus in 1494, during his second voyage to the Caribbean Island.

Cienfuegos's bay has a huge potential, and is the venue of Formula T-1 (speedboats) world championships, which are an excellent attraction for both nationals and foreign tourists.

This kind of event, which was first held in 1997, is a true festival for foreign visitors and Cienfuegos dwellers, who enjoy a varied program that includes a parade of the participating boats along the city's Prado Promenade.

The Formula T-1 boats used in these competitions are 16 feet long and 86 inches wide, and have two keels and an outboard motor. They weigh 400 pounds, and are built of aluminum, fiberglass or carbon, among other materials.

The boat pilots, who mainly come from the United States, Mexico, Spain, Colombia and Costa Rica and many of whom have participated in these competitions several times, complement the event's attraction with their multicolor uniforms, anti-fire suits and helmets.


The teams operating these racing boats take advantage of the facilities of Marina Puertosol Cienfuegos, situated in the residential neighborhood of Punta Gorda, where dozens of piers and services of drinking water, fuel, electricity, security and customs are available.

As a solitary sentinel of the sea stands out the fortress of Nuestra Señora de los Angeles de Jagua, built in 1745 and considered a solid exponent of Cuba's military architecture in the 18th century.

At the time of its inauguration, the fortress was the only construction of its kind in central Cuba to protect the island from the attacks of corsairs and pirates, and gave refuge to Spain's top military brass in 1762, during the country's occupation by the British.

The construction of the Castillo de Jagua, or Jagua Castle, as it is also known, was based on a project by the military engineer José Tantete, who built that solid, two-story cubic structure with a drawbridge and a sentry box.

The castle has played a major role in the city's defense from the attacks of such corsairs and pirates as Francis Drake, Jacques de Sores, Guillermo Bruce and Lorenzo Craft, among others, who terrorized the Caribbean centuries ago.

Due to all these elements, Cienfuegos has developed the leisure industry with a peculiar option, whose charms make vacationers stop over on their way to other destinations like the colonial village of Trinidad.

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