Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Criollo - Design 792

A blog follower asked us to share some images of Criollo, our design #792. So here you go. The above image is the only image I can seem to find of this pretty yawl. The boat was built by Remigio Hernandorena in his own shipyard near Havana, Cuba in 1947. I believe this fellow owned another Sparkman & Stephens design named Ciclon which he successfully campaigned on the ocean racing circuit.

Here are the plans.

Principle Dimensions
LOA 67'-1"
LWL 45'-6"
Beam 14'-0"
Draft 7'-9" (Centerboard Up)


  1. I believe you may have the dates wrong. Criollo was built in the early to mid 50's. I saw it under construction when I was a child and I couldn't have seen it in 1947. She, as you probably know, won the Miami-Nassau race in 1956. Ciclon had won the race in 1948, although I understand she had been built in the early 40s.
    I have a vague recollection that M. Hernandorena was killed in an aviation accident; Criollo was finished by a M. Rasco, of the Miramar Yacht Club, and subsequently campaigned by Commodore Luis Vidaña, of the Casino Español, all Havana Clubs.
    I do thank you for posting details of design 792, as I had long suspected Criollo was an S & S design, but never had really known.
    Jorge Dalmau begin_of_the_skype_highlighting     end_of_the_skype_highlighting begin_of_the_skype_highlighting     end_of_the_skype_highlighting

  2. Jorge,
    It's interesting. The plans clearly say 1947 as does our master job list. However there is a note in the files that says: Mr. Hernanorena passed away while this boat was under construction. It was bought by Manuel Rasco, Jr., (1954) and is still under construction being supervised by Mario Bustamante. This seems to jibe with your recollection.
    Bruce Johnson

  3. Jorge,

    My father was Luis Humberto Vidaña, who skippered "El Criollo" from 1955 when he bought her from Manuel Rasco,until December 1958, just before Castro took control of Cuba. You are correct in observing that she was victorious in the Miami to Nassau Regatta in 1956. My father was at the helm in that race. She was indeed a beautiful yawl, made of all Cuban woods;hence the name "Criollo". My father left her docked in the Almendares River when he had to flee Cuba in late December 1958. The Cubam military boarded her, disabled the rudder, and stole her compass to keep my father from sailing her to freedom.

    1. Hello, my name is Jose Antonio Font. I was a very close friend of Luis Humberto Vidana while living in Washington, D.C. He hosted me when I started the Cuban Lobby under the Abdala Cuban Movement in June 1971. Latter, he backed me, becoming one of the three organizers of the Greater Washington Ibero (Hispanic) American Chamber of Commerce in 1976. Was invited to speak at the 35th Annual Gala and I want to feature his contributions. If anyone in the family is reading this, please contact me at 786-256-8250, better still via email - jfont@fontinternational.com. Returning to Miami on the 22nd, the Gala is June 1.

      Thank You

    2. Luis,

      Perusing the internet, I came across this article on your Dad's wonderful yacht, on which I had the privilege and pleasure to sail with your Dad in the late 50's as part of a junior crew that he formed from a group of teenagers from El Casino Espanol, all part of the Snipe Fleet of El Casino.
      For me your Dad was somebody very special and I was privileged to know your Mum, Evangelina and your sisters I saw again in Miami in 1970.
      Unfortunately I never got to know you as you were a very young boy then, but remember how proud your Dad was when you were born.
      I did not flee Cuba for the USA but to England, so I lost contact with all my piers.
      Please pass on my warmest regards to your Mum if she is still alive and your sisters.
      My e-mail is: intladv1@aol.com
      With fond regards,
      Ceferino (Pocholo) Fernandez.

    3. My father was Manuel Garcia Nava who was married to Isabel Rasco. Just a few remarks, Manuel Rasco remarried in St. Petersburg, Fl in 1961. He died of a heart attack while driving a card on US 19. Manuel Rasco, Humberto Vidana, and My father were the pioneers of the larger boats. All 3 represented Cuba in the SORC, winning many races. I have a ton of pictures. The last race that the Ciclon participated in was in 1960. The USA boats (Charlie Morgan, Bill Grant, Bill Lineburger, etc) participated in the Habana-Varadero race, which by the way I at the age of 14 was allowed to helm this particular race. I remember well when the fleet left the Habana Harbor for St. Petersburg. Bonnie Lineburger carried jewelry on her person with no receipt for several Cuban families, including mine.
      The Ciclon left with the fleet, by special permission of Fidel. The ciclon has a great story and Papi bought the boat from Vidana, both the Criollo and Ciclon were stored in the water in the rio Almendares, next to each other. Both had fulltime "marineros" to take care of them.
      The Ciclon is the only sailboat to leave Cuba, not returning, and sold in 1960 for USA $60 to Dr. Thompson of Tampa.
      The stories I could tell.....

  4. Sir I read with great interest your article regarding Ciclon. I have the great honour of being her present owner and she is now lying on the Mediterranean Island of Cyprus, where I live. She has been fully restored to her former glory, and although I say it myself, she is magnificent. I have spoken with many people who have been associated with her over the years when she was in the Miramar Yacht Club in Havana. You mention that you have photographs of her when she fought her great campaigns under the Cuban flag and I would dearly like you to send me an email with any information and pictures which you may have.
    I have pieced together a great deal of her history which I would like to impart to you if you are interested. I have to tell you with sadness that where Ciclon is now lying in Larnaca Marina in Cyprus, it is a holiday resort where many Russian people choose to go. Three years ago there was an elderly Russian who walked down the quay and, of course, stopped by Ciclon, as she is possibly the most attractive yacht in the marina. I do not speak Russian myelf (I am English) and through an interpreter he explained that when he was in the Russian army stationed in Cuba the army used a yacht the same shape as Ciclon but had two masts. I asked him if it was Corrilo but he did not remember unfortunately. I imparted this information to the Commodore of the San Francisco Yacht Club who was writing a book about the great Cuban yachts which sailed between the 40's to the 60's Ciclon and Corrilo were, of course, part of this fleet.
    Should you wish to reply my email address is chinabelle@hotmail.com. I would really like you to get in touch. Many thanks in anticipation. Hugh Davis

    1. Mr. Davis; I only write to inquire as to when you said "she has been restored to her former glory" you mean to say that she is no longer glass over wood. That she is in fact back to full trim and in her native "skin" so to speak. I am unsure, If I can convey to you exactly what Criollo and Ciclón mean to a certain segment, the sailing class, of exiled Cubans. My father was one of them. Criollo and Ciclón stood as mascots and emblems of Cuban pride and excellence.

      Treat her well,

      Julio A. Galletti
      Coral Gables, FL

  5. My comment is directed at "anonymous" comment Nov. 3 2012. My father, Julio R. Galletti, was one of the young Snipe sailors of "El Casino Español" who went on that voyage. He told the story with incredible fondness. As he told it, the young men who were invited on this voyage had first excelled in a test of navigation skill. The trip was out to Ft. Jefferson in the Marquesas Keys, the place were Dr. Samuel Mudd was jailed. One of his better recollections of the trip was that he drew a late watch on the bow and that Sen. Luis Humberto Vidaña, himself, came up to him, handed him a loaded Thompson Sub-Machine Gun and said "Julio beware, there are pirates in these waters." My father, literally told me that that moment, the stars over the Marquesas and the fact that he carved his initials on the outer wall of the Fort, were some of the best of his youth.

    Julio A. Galletti
    Coral Gables, FL

  6. Dear Mr.Galletti, There is a long email following with a few photographs, but I would like to point out in this 'chat' that Ciclon has never been glass sheathed throughout her life. I hope you enjoy my email and pictures. Please keep in touch. Hugh Davis

  7. Mr. Davis, my name is Luis Echenique, I too sailed Ciclon, but only on short offshore trips that Mr. Vidana gave to young snipe sailors. I competed in the same group as Mr. Galetti Sr. I have been looking for pictures of Ciclon, Criollo and Lobo de Mar for a long time. If you would kindly send some of Ciclon that I may have printed and framed, I will be in your debt.
    Luis Echenique
    Miami, FL

  8. Never hear El Criollo that I knew . the one builded by Eleuterio Perez and
    Sons,(Francisco....) in his Boat yard in Rio Almendares,Vedado,Havana.
    A 67 ft, it was Race Winning in the 50's ,
    It was reconditioned in the same Boat Yard by his son Francisco Perez, personally ,
    at the end of the 70's , it was a replica builded ?

  9. RE: Ciclon, Mr Davis
    I rebuilt the dog house and coaming board in St Petersburg, FL in 1988, photos at jonesboatworks.com

    I am happy to hear that she is alive and well.

  10. Hi, reading this refreshed my memory when visiting Cabanas in 2005/6 and my friend, Carlos, showed me El Criollo, laid-up in a shed in the port in Cabanas. According his information it was being used as a training vessel for cadets and being restored.

  11. My father, Dr. Osvaldo Pardo Sanson, sailed various times on this yawl

    I remember a photograph on the inside cover of a literature book in the public school system in the USA with a photo of my father's back at the wheel of the yawl. 1960-1961 ?
    Sylvia Pardo

  12. Hello to all who follow this .... my father was a photographer of the SORC during the late 1950's and was fortunate to be onboard Criollo to photograph the crew at work. I must have about 30 B+W very nice 11x14's mounted to 16x20 that are part of his collection of racing yachts of those times. Anyone interested in knowing more about my father's work, please go to veitphotos.com to see some of his collection I have put up on the internet. SORC and Star class from 1955-59, plus some of his travel and creative work. Check it out.

    1. Hi there. My name is Luis Humberto Vidaña III. I am the son of Luis Humberto Vidaña, who owned and skippered El Criollo from 1955 when he bought the yawl from Manuel Rasco, until late 1958, when Castro forced us to flee Cuba. I am very interested in viewing your photos.
      Thank you for restoring this important history of my father's and of Cuban Yacht racing.