Making Do With Nothing

3 Jun

Cuban ingenuity really cannot be beat. Pinched between a government worse than any overbearing, snooping mother and a certain neighbor which acts more like a schoolyard bully than a nation Cubans have had to learn to make do with almost nothing. This is especially true for those citizens planning a clandestine escape. I saw this boat on display in a Cuban cafe here in Marathon and had to share.


This small boat, the Lorenzo, made the 100nm passage across the Gulf stream from Cardenas, Cuba


The text, (not nessecarily my political sentiments) reads: “On Febuary 19, 2013 six brave young men left the shores of Cardenas Cuba province of Matanza in this boat named Lorenzo. As you can see the conditions under which these Cubans sailed were very precarious. They as many young Cubans prefer to risk their lives then to live under a totalitarian communist regime. Thank God nthese young men managed to tread American soil unlike many others tyhat have died trying. Today thousands of Cubans are very grateful to this great nation for hosting them and acceepting them but especially for allowing them to live in freedom.”

That’s six men in this tiny boat, across hazardous Gulfstream waters! What did they have for implements?

Oh, you know, a couple rusty wrenches in case something went wrong


A rusty spear-gun and a tiller made from an unfinished, hand-carved chunk of wood

Now, the pièce de résistance. Anyone familiar with marine engines will know how important it is to properly align an engine with its propshaft, and how difficult this can be even on a well-found boat. Now picture trying to do it on a small wooden boat subject to the forces of seas half the size of the boat… These guys found a way around it with a flexible shaft coupling, only they didn’t buy it at West Marine!

Here’s another view of that:


This article was syndicated from Safe At Harbour But Meant For The Sea: DIY Sailing with Paul Calder


  1. Greg

    thanks for this article — I visit this cafe every time i’m in Marathon (for the bomb cafe cubano) and never paid attention to the boat or the story.

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