Excellent weather throughout the year; good marinas, with more reasonable prices than in other destinations, in many cases located in the island capitals; numerous flights connecting the islands, enabling you to leave your boat behind and visit other places; and the security and convenience of being in Europe. These are just some of the advantages sailing enthusiasts will find in the Canary Islands.
Sailing for all levels
Many people say, “If you learn to sail in the Canary Islands, you can sail anywhere in the world!”. And that is absolutely true. While sailing - particularly around the western islands - can be fairly demanding due to the presence of the trade winds, we should point out that the distances between the islands are more than manageable, so much so that it is possible to hop from one to another by sailing during the day, enjoying constant, reliable winds.
Óliver Solanas has a long family tradition in this sport. A resident of the Canary Islands, he combines sailing with his other passion, surfing. Solanas fell in love with the islands 25 years ago, bought a boat and started living on board in Fuerteventura. After a while, he found himself giving advice to visiting sailors on where to find spare parts and repair services and the best places to visit on the islands. He was invited to represent numerous international sailing associations in the archipelago, and created the “Canary Islands Cruising Guide”, published by Imray, which has sold more than 5,000 copies.
A variety of scenery for all visitors
“Each island holds its own particular charm for sailors,” says Solanas. “The Timanfaya National Park and the legacy of César Manrique in Lanzarote; the dunes of Fuerteventura; the Teide and the Cañadas in Tenerife; the cultural heritage of La Gomera; and La Restinga, on El Hierro,” are some of his suggestions. “You can’t miss La Graciosa, either, and its anchorage off the Francesa beach, and Puerto Tazacorte on the west coast of La Palma, a less-frequented route. Marina La Gomera is truly authentic and also a very strategic point between Tenerife and the western islands”. But wherever you go, “I recommend booking in advance to be sure of having a mooring place before you arrive”.
Each island holds its own particular charm for sailors.
Tips for sailors in the Canary Islands
- The months of September to November are the best in the islands, but also the hardest in terms of finding moorings.
- From April to August, the trade winds blow, giving the archipelago constant but also intense winds, which may be particularly strong during the month of July. It is important to locate the points around the islands where these winds accelerate, in order to take the appropriate precautionary measures while sailing.
- Before travelling, it is a good idea to contact the marina directly to obtain updated information and recommendations. Although there are more and more online reservation services, it is impossible for them to have access to all the most recent updates. The marinas have the best information on the services they offer, as well as those that can be found locally.
- Apart from the wind, another characteristic of the Canary Islands is the practically year-round sunshine, so installing photovoltaic panels is strongly recommended, in order to exploit the sun’s energy to charge batteries on board. And we should never forget to use sunscreen!
- Aside from the wide range of harbours and marinas the archipelago offers, there are some really idyllic areas where one can anchor for a night, especially in the easternmost islands. Ask the nearest ports about depths, currents and the seabed in these areas, as well as the effect of the tides.