German fast boat pilot Roger Kluh and French navigator Damien Sauvage received the Merit Order in the Cuban capital Thursday, for their record on speed on water, between Key West (USA) and Havana.
Kluh and Sauvage received the medal on behalf of the two other members of the crew, US Mark Mcmanus and John Pompi, who were not in Cuba at the moment of the medal delivery.
“It is a very important and emotional moment in my life, and I want to thank all those who helped me achieve this record after three years of preparation,” said the pilot, visibly moved.
With their boat, and despite technical deficiencies, high waves and the sweltering Sun that harassed them during the voyage, this international crew managed to travel the 90 miles (145 kilometers) separating both points in an hour and 45 minutes on Aug. 1st, 2015.
The agreement of the Cuban State Council adds that they decided to reward them, for their desire to strenghten the brotherhood, friendship and cooperation between the peoples of Cuba and the United States.
“We wanted to show this boat to the Cuban people, and all those people that waited us in Havana gave us the biggest prize of all,” he said.
Now Klüh aims to collect his boat, which remains stranded in Havana, due to lack of permission from the U.S. government, to take him to his native country and exhibit it in a museum.
Authorities from the Cuban Sports Institute (INDER) and the International Ernest Hemingway Sailing Club of Cuba were present.
Also, there were Dana Brown, head of Political and Economic Affairs of the US Embassy in Havana, and the First Advisor of the French Embassy, Guy Christophe.