U.S. pilots Nigel Hook and Jay Johnson wave the Cuban and U.S. national flags, after their arrival aboard the Lucas Oil Silver Hook speedboat, as part of the event of speed records Lucas Oil Ocean Cup, in Havana, Cuba, on Aug. 17, 2017. (Xinhua/Joaquin Hernandez)
HAVANA, Aug. 17 (Xinhua) -- Two U.S. speedboat pilots set a new speed record on Thursday, crossing from the U.S. city of Key West to the Cuban capital in just 1 hour and 18 minutes.
Experienced pilots Nigel Hook and Jay Johnson cruised into Havana Bay at more than 100 miles per hour after crossing the Florida Straits at a new velocity for this vehicle.
"The most important thing today was to get here and this new record. The sensation of reaching Havana at full speed is inexplicable, we are really very excited," Hook told reporters shortly after their arrival.
The Lucas Oil Silver Hook speedboat left Key West shortly after 8:45 a.m. local time and arrived in Havana at 10:04 a.m. local time, setting a new world record.
"We were very focused all the time because you never know when the biggest wave is going to come out. The sea was a bit choppy on some stretches and we had to stop and go back at a point on the way," added Hook.
This project was dubbed "two for one" by Hook, as he aims to achieve two world records, both on the way to Cuba and back.
Both drivers will soon return to Key West and try to beat their own record on the return leg.
With this new mark, as well as other recent attempts on surfboards and kayaks by Americans, both countries continue their bonds of friendship and solidarity, despite the recent rollback of the historic thaw between Havana and Washington by U.S. president Donald Trump.
"The important thing about this record is that we achieved it by crossing the ocean and uniting two countries. We wanted to see how fast we could get from one point to another. This record also has a very rich legacy," said Hook.
The first such speedboat record was established between the two countries in 1922, before being broken again in 1958. The most recent record, now beaten, was reached on August 1, 2015 by German Roger Kluh aboard the boat "Apache Star," in just 1 hour and 45 minutes.
The initiative was endorsed by the International Motonautics Union, the American Power Boat Association and the International Nautical Club Hemingway of Cuba.