Canary Islands - Profile
- The Canary Islands are an integral part of Spain, and as such are part of the E.U. although they have a special economic status.
- The seven main islands of the Canary Islands are well spaced out so that it is only a day's sail between most of them. The logical route for most yachts arriving from the north is to visit Lanzarote and Fuerteventura first before sailing to Gran Canaria, then Tenerife, La Gomera, El Hierro and La Palma.
- The Canaries remain the logical jumping-off point for yachts crossing the Atlantic to the Caribbean, ever since Columbus started the fashion over 500 years ago, and from November to January the islands are full of yachts preparing for their Atlantic crossing. Las Palmas continues to be the main port of departure on a westbound transatlantic passage.
- Facilities for yachts have improved considerably in recent years and more cruising yachts are now spending longer in the islands and some are permanently based there. Also on the increase is the number of yachts sailing down from Europe to spend the winter months in the Canaries' pleasant climate.
- There are restrictions on anchoring in the Canaries and in many places authorisation is required. If you anchor without permission, you may well be moved on by the Guardia Civil. Wherever possible, seek permission from the port authority first.
- The widest range of facilities is concentrated in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, which has a yacht harbour administered by the port authority. The marina boatyard with haulout facilities re-opened at the end of 2012.
- Gran Canaria's south coast has several good marinas at Pasito Blanco, Puerto Rico and Puerto Mogan. There are haul-out facilities at all of them as well as at the fishing harbour Arguineguin.
- Docking facilities in the capital of Tenerife have improved dramatically with the opening of Marina Santa Cruz in the very centre of the capital Santa Cruz. A smaller Marina Tenerife operates in the fishing harbour. Outside of Santa Cruz there are good facilities at the marinas at Radazul, Los Gigantes and Puerto Colon. The boatyard at Los Cristianos also has haul-out and repair facilities.
- Lanzarote now has two marinas: Puerto Calero and Marina Rubicon. Both have boatyards and a range of services.
- On Fuerteventura there is a small marina with haul-out and some repair facilities as well as fuel at El Castillo and limited repair facilities in the capital Puerto Rosario. Note that advance reservation is requested for the ports of Morro Jable, Gran Tarajal and Corralejo in Fuerteventura.
- San Sebastian, the capital of La Gomera, now has its own marina, located in the northern part of the commercial harbour. Be warned of strong winds as you approach this Island.
- New marinas have opened in the westernmost islands of La Palma and El Hierro.
- La Graciosa marina also requires advance reservation and a permit is required to anchor here.
- Cruisers report that government run marinas, once the cheaper option, have now doubled their fees (see report adjacent).
- Gas: arrive with propane bottles filled, your gas bottle may not be approved for filling here. See report.
Despite its position close to the tropics, the Canaries are not too hot in summer, 21-29°C, pleasantly warm in winter, 15-20°C, and can be regarded as an all-year cruising ground. The frequency of gales is low and the islands are not affected by hurricanes.
In the trade wind belt, the prevailing wind is north-easterly throughout the year, being strongest in July and August and lightest in October and November. The high volcanic islands cause some local variations in both wind direction and strength. As a rule, there are different winds in the lee of the islands compared to the coasts exposed to the trade winds. When the NE trades are blowing strongly, an opposing wind usually blows on the other side of the island, varying in strength with the srength of the trade wind. A funnelling effect is also felt along the coasts of some of the mountainous islands and the trades can be accelerated by up to 15 knots in places.
Teletiempo (Maritime Forecast), Tel: 0034 906 365 373. Local weather forecast in Spanish. They give a complete description of the weather, wind force, state of the sea for every island.
For links to free global weather information, forecast services and extreme weather information see the Noonsite Weather Page
La Graciosa: Caleta del Sebo (La Graciosa)
* indicates port of entry