German powerboat racer Roger Klüh has set the Florida-to-Cuba speed run record after covering the 90-mile passage in one hour and 45 minutes. Using a fully restored McManus Superboat fitted with a pair of 1,350-horsepower turbo-charged Mercury engines, Klüh was able to shatter the previous record of six hours and 23 minutes set by American Forest Johnson back in 1958. Yep, it’s been 57 years since anybody has tried breaking the speed run record from Florida to Cuba.

The frosty relations between the United States and Cuba made powerboat racing virtually impossible since Johnson’s record-setting run in 1958. That’s the biggest reason why no one ever bothered trying to break it. But now that the two countries have exhibited a willingness to thaw whatever ill will still stands today, the opportunity to once again engage in powerboat racing was the green light Klüh needed to get first dibs on breaking the record.

Given how long it’s been since the old record stood, coupled with the advancements in powerboat technology, eclipsing the time set by Johnson was a question of who could do it first. Klüh was the first to attempt and subsequently set a new record by steering his 2,700-horsepower Apache Star powerboat to speeds in excess of 80 knots. The one hour and 45 minutes it took the German is an impressive time, but make no mistake, now that the US and Cuba have their proverbial arms around each other, Klüh won’t be the only powerboat racer to take a stab at this new record.

Not to shortchange his accomplishments because history will say that he was the one who smashed a 57-year record. But something tells me that Klüh’s record time of one hour and 45 minutes from Florida to Cuba won’t sit in the record books for another 57 years. Heck, I wouldn’t be surprised if a new record is set in the next 57 days.

Continue reading to read more about Roger Klüh’s record-setting Florida-to-Cuba powerboat record run.

Why it matters

A record’s a record until it’s not.

That’s what Roger Klüh should tell anybody who thinks that his Florida-to-Cuba powerboat record will be short-lived. I’ll give him credit for this much: he was the first man in a long time who was brave enough to even attempt it in the first place. That alone should earn Klüh some recognition. But as far as how long his record will last, I don’t think we’ll have to wait another 57 years to see someone break it.

I’m not here to throw shade in Klüh’s direction because he earned it. It’s just that as impressive as it sounds, I think that Klüh and his team should continue to set the bar as high as possible, or in this case, as fast as possible before somebody else sets his sights on turning in a faster travel time from Florida to Cuba in the near future.

For now, though, it’s Roger Klüh’s record. Well done, sir!

Kirby Garlitos
Kirby Garlitos
Automotive Aftermarket Expert -
Kirby’s first exposure into the world of automobiles happened when he caught Knight Rider on television as a five-year old boy. David Hasselhoff didn’t leave much of an impression on him (that happened later on in Baywatch), but KITT certainly did. To this day, Kirby remains convinced that he will one day own a car with the same ‘spirit’ as the original KITT (not the 2008 monstrosity). He doesn't know when that will be, but until then, he’s committed to expressing his love for KITT, and all cars for that matter, here at TopSpeed.  Read full bio
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