heineken515 - 4/6/2016 at 05:12 PM
Life is good in Naples, Florida, couple sails to show:
Big show in Havana: Marco Island couple sails to Rolling Stones concert in Cuba
By Lance Shearer
Have you ever made a spur-of-the-moment decision to take in a concert, when the opportunity arose?
That's what John and Veronica Meyers did. But for them, getting to the show required a lot of pieces to fall together, the stars to align, and the winds to blow them on their way.
The couple were already in the Florida Keys on The Far Side, their 50-ft. custom double ender sloop, when they heard that the Rolling Stones were playing a free concert in Havana. They had come at their daughters' request for a spring break trip to the Keys for some diving and relaxation, and were waiting out some unfavorable weather.
The concert was originally scheduled for March 20, but on the evening of the 21st, "we heard they had pushed it back to March 25, and we started thinking," said John. "We have a friend who has an open permit to travel to Cuba — he's the race organizer for the Conch Republic Cup. He said, 'yeah, you can use the permit. You just have to take me along."
By chance, the Meyers had asked one of their daughters to bring along some ID for them when she joined them aboard, and she had found and delivered their passports to them in the Keys. Everything was in place — except the weather.
"There was a 30-knot wind from the east, working against a three-knot current from the West" — the Gulf Stream. This opposition can produce fearsome seas, and John, the skipper, reported they encountered up to 15-foot rollers in the Florida Straits.
"He's always conservative," Veronica said of John's assessment. "The waves were like a wall of black, but it was beautiful with the full moon." They sailed all night on a broad reach under staysail and double-reefed main.
"We were doing our hull speed, about eight knots," reported John.
The three daughters had to head back to school, two to college where they have swimming scholarships, and the youngest, Tatiana, 14, to Lely High School where she is also on the swim team. They returned north to Marco Island aboard the ferryboat, while their parents headed south for a rendezvous with Mick and Keith, and the newly-opened island nation.
The concert, said John and Veronica, was "awesome — historic," as they joined more than a million Cubans for a show the likes of which had never been seen there before. "The Rolling Stones brought 71 shipping containers full of equipment," as virtually nothing was available locally. John is a veteran of Stones' concerts, catching them for the fourth time in Havana, and he said they had more energy than ever, even in their 70s. It was Veronica's first chance to see the iconic band, certainly at this point the world's most iconic rock group.
Both Meyers wore "Event Staff" T-shirts when a reporter visited to hear their story and see The Far Side, with the Stones' famous lips and tongue logo sporting the Cuban flag. "These were the only shirts they had left," said Veronica.
"They were great. They opened with 'Paint It Black,' (although news stories from the show say that song came later, and the opening number was "Jumpin' Jack Flash.")
When Mick Jagger, who was speaking to the crowd in Spanish, called out "Canta!" (Sing!) the crowd didn't know the words, probably because rock music was banned in Cuba for decades, which must have been a different experience for the Stones.
John named "Let It Bleed" and "You Can't Always Get What You Want" as additional favorites, along with just being there, and soaking up the vibe. The Meyers have been to Cuba before, having entered the Conch Republic Cup twice. They said although there was a massive police and military presence at the concert, everything was upbeat, and even the soldiers seemed to be having a great time.
The blue water crossing from Key West to Marina Hemingway was memorable, but easily taken in stride by the Meyers, veterans of thousands of sea miles of open water cruising. John and Veronica met in Truk lagoon in the Pacific in 1989, where he was sailing and she, a native of the Netherlands, was visiting on a dive trip. Since then, they have sailed to many of the islands of Polynesia, Papua New Guinnea, China and Japan. John had The Far Side commissioned in Taiwan — hence the name — and later single-handed her from Japan to Santa Barbara, California, a 6,000-mile journey.
But they've never had an experience quite like the Stones in Havana.
"When we heard about this concert, we said, 'This is huge. This is historic. We have to be part of this," said Veronica.
Edit: trying to resize the one pic above, she sure has nice legs
[Edited on 4/6/2016 by heineken515]
CB - 4/9/2016 at 10:02 PM
Stones show in Cuba was a free show. Was recorded, probably for Video release.