Atlantic - The Canaries
For many people, the Canaries are just the last ‘European' stopover before the crossing to the West Indies... But the Canaries are well worth the stop, to enjoy their charms.
Situated in the Atlantic Ocean, the Canaries form an archipelago of seven main islands, as well as several almost deserted islets (Graciosa, Montaña Clara, Legranza and Lobos): Tenerife, Fuerteventura, Grand Canaria, Lanzarote, La Palma, La Gomera and Hierro.
The scenery is very varied, from fine sand beaches to volcano craters, via forests, lava fields and deserts... There is something for all tastes, and visitors are spoilt for choice when discovering one or the other of this attractive archipelago's faces. Because although for many sailors, the Canaries are often just the last stop before crossing the Atlantic, and therefore full of emotion, this is also a destination which can be experienced in its own right. The archipelago has many advantages which must be pointed out.
There is always wind, which makes sailing pleasant, there are many infrastructures which can accommodate our catamarans, and there remain many ‘secret spots', where you will be alone in the world. The proof? This winter there will be a brand new Freydis 49 scouring the Canaries' secret anchorages (as well as those of Madeira and the Cape Verde Islands). On the programme, some nice sailing, deserted anchorages, diving you have only ever dreamt about... Because the ‘islands of eternal spring' have lots to offer those who know how to look. The seabed is very rich, the clear waters are legendary, and those who like fishing will also be in heaven, as many sport fishing records have been beaten here! Finally, don't leave without your surf or wave board; the Canaries offer several world-renowned spots.
And then, between the islands, you will discover the joy of sailing amidst dolphins and whales - an experience which will remain forever engraved in your memory.
The Canaries offer many possibilities for cruising and anchorages. The North-easterly trade winds are predominant over the whole of the Canaries, associated with the Azores high, and you can sail in a dry, mild climate. The stopovers are most often in anchorages, but also sometimes in ports which are charming and typical. In one week, if you enjoy sailing, you will have the choice between a tour of the islands around Lanzarote, leaving from Puerto Calero for around 200 miles, and around Tenerife, leaving from Santa Cruz for a cruise of more than 300 miles. In the latter case, it is best to choose a fast boat...
Here is the programme Vao Vao is offering for this winter in the Canaries; note that this is a training or cruising programme, with a skipper, for periods of 6/10 or 15 days with a welcome at the airport by the skipper.
If you choose to sail around Lanzarote:
1st day: Puerto Calero / Playa Blanca 12 miles. Ideal for getting used to the boat and getting your sea legs.
2nd day: Playa Blanca / Graciosa 42 miles. Graciosa is an island the size of Groix, with a village of 500 inhabitants and a lovely little port, in which your catamaran will be perfectly sheltered. 3rd day: Cruising around Graciosa 35 miles. This nature reserve is very beautiful. One of the ‘musts' of your cruise.
4th day: Graciosa / Puerto Rosario 60 miles.
5th day: Puerto Rosario / Arrecife 32 miles.
6th day: Arrecife / Puerto Calero 15 miles.
7th day: Puerto Calero
1st day: Santa Cruz de Tenerife / Puerto Mogan 46 miles.
2nd day: Puerto Mogan / San Sebastian 73 miles.
3rd day: Cruising around La Gomera 30 miles.
4th day: La Gomera / Santa Cruz de la Palma 50 miles.
5th day: Santa Cruz de la Palma / Puerto Colon 65 miles.
6th day: Puerto Colon / Santa Cruz de Tenerife 45 miles.
7th day: Santa Cruz de Tenerife.
Situation: Situated to the North-West of Western Sahara, the Canaries form an archipelago in the Atlantic Ocean, 150km from the African coast (Western Sahara) and more than 1,000km South of Spain. From La Rochelle, 1,200 miles.
Access: By boat, of course...but also by aeroplane, less than three hours from the main European capitals, as the Canaries have six airports.
Formalities: You are in Europe... Valid passport for North American citizens, and identification for EU citizens.
Climate: The climate is sub-tropical. The average annual temperature is 22°C. The weather is always pleasant, thanks to the constant trade winds, which allow you to enjoy your cruising, and refresh you at anchor.
Health: apart from sunburn, nothing to report.