Mayor tests makeshift raft in prep for Cuba-to-Florida trip

DeBary Mayor Clint Johnson tweets it's 'great day'

SANFORD, Fla. – DeBary Mayor Clint Johnson is preparing for his 90-mile trip from Cuba to Key West on a homemade raft.

Johnson spent Thursday morning testing out his raft on Lake Monroe in Sanford.

Johnson said despite warnings from the U.S. Coast Guard to reconsider his trip, he is staying on course.

"There's no law that prevents an American from coming home on a boat. It's a smaller sailboat, for lack of a better definition," said Johnson.

Johnson built the vessel using four 55-gallon drums, a 2 x 4, a piece of plywood and some metal from a junkyard. He said he purchased a couple of locks online to secure the oars but had to repair them after the first test run.

"Oarlocks broke and I'm moving slow across Lake Monroe," Johnson tweeted.

Johnson chalked the minor setback up to a lesson learned.

"I'm still extremely confident, but I know one of my weak spots now," he said.

Johnson said he is planning a second overnight test run off the coast of Florida later this month, and his final test will be to cross Lake Okeechobee.

The 30-year-old said he hopes to reach Key West about two days after leaving Cuba.

"I'm doing this trip," he said. "When I put my mind to something, I don't give up on it."


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