From the bases on Gran Canaria, Tenerife and Lanzarote you are perfectly positioned to explore the surrounding islands. La Gomera remains blissfully untouched by tourism. Perhaps this is due to the lack of white sandy beaches, but it does have hideaway coves and a historic port at San Sebastian, the starting point for Columbus on his first voyage in 1492. El Hierro may be the smallest of the Canaries, but it’s strikingly dramatic and the sea is so clear, it’s a paradise for snorkelers and divers. La Palma, the most exotic of the islands formed from a volcanic crater with a coastline of majestically steep cliffs and black volcanic sands. If you’re lucky you may even enjoy seeing dolphins and pilot whales playing in your bow wave!
A sailing holiday in the Canaries does need reasonable prior experience to RYA Coastal Skipper standard. This is the open Atlantic, not the semi-enclosed Mediterranean nor the predictable Caribbean. Distances between the islands are considerable, the winds can be strong and are funneled between the islands to give a sort of wind tunnel effect in the “Acceleration Zone” that is well documented but still needs experience to handle.
Strong north-westerly trade winds all year Force 5-8. The wind varies throughout the year but, though largely predictable, is always interesting.
There are no direct flights from North America to the Canary Islands, you will need to travel via a European hub.
SUGGESTED 1 WEEK SAILING ITINERARY FROM TENERIFE
DAY 1 : Embark at Santa Cruz the capital of Tenerife, about 30 minutes from the airport.
DAY 2 : San Sebastian (28nm) on La Gomera was the starting point for Columbus on his first voyage. Overnight in Puerto de Playa Santiago and savor the local Gomera cuisine. The whole island is an unexplored place of wild beauty – go ashore and enjoy the scenery of steep cliffs and beaches, palm groves and the Garajonay National Park, a unique ecological treasure of crystal clear waters and green laurel forests.
DAY 3 : Visit Puerto De Tazacorte (60nm) on La Palma, the most exotic of the islands formed from a volcanic crater with a coastline of majestically steep cliffs and black volcanic sands. La Palma is called the ‘Pretty Isle’ by Canary Islanders for its spectacularly lush vegetation, abundant clear waters and floral wealth which are in sharp contrast to the many volcanic forms that are testimony to the island’s origins.
DAY 4 : La Restinga (65nm) on El Hierro. Spectactular scenery above and below the water and the sea is so clear, a paradise for snorkellers and divers. All this, plus the kind and friendly nature of the people, makes a visit to the smallest of the Canary Islands a charming experience.
DAY 5: Puerto de Valle Gran Reyiseros (45nm) on La Gomera is a picturesque harbour.
DAY 6 : Back to Tenerife. Los Gigantes (25nm) is a lively marina with a superb beach.
DAY 7 : Sail back to Santa Cruz de Tenerife (14nm).