Five good reasons to cruise in the Canary Islands

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By Theo Stocker for Yachting Monthly

Ask any sailor why the Canary Islands are so important and you’ll get a good answer – the same one that Columbus, Cook or Humboldt would have given. Thanks to favourable winds and currents, and a strategic position on the classic transatlantic route, these Atlantic isles are a crucial stepping-stone for ocean voyagers. But they offer a whole lot more. For thousands of sailors, the Canary Islands are the cruising destination of choice, and here’s why.

1 Perfect sailing, all year round

The Canary Islands have the best climate in the world and it hardly changes with the seasons: an eternal spring of sunny days, blue skies and constant temperatures, which vary little throughout the year. Whenever you visit, you’ll sail in steady, reliable Trade Winds thanks to the Gulf Stream and the Azores High.

2 Amazing scenery and wildlife

Have you ever seen a mountain looming two miles high in the middle of the ocean? Magnificent volcanoes, deep ravines and towering cliffs make a spectacular backdrop for a Canary Islands cruise. There’s an amazing variety of landscapes: lush green slopes on the northern coasts and dramatic desert moonscapes in the south. With luck you’ll see humpback whales, dolphins or turtles. Night sailing here is a mind-blowing experience, with the cleanest, clearest skies in Europe and very low light pollution. Slip out of port after dark and you can cruise under a carpet of stars.

3 More to explore, afloat and ashore

With 36 ports on seven islands, each with its own distinct character, there’s a lot to explore on an island-hopping cruise. The navigation is simple, in deep blue water. You’ll discover charming, traditional ports and stylish marinas with five-star facilities in beautiful, wild surroundings. The prevailing winds give a broad reach going west along the archipelago and a close reach going east.

4 Snug berths, world-class services

A major marine service hub for 500 years, the Canary Islands are an ideal place to keep a boat, or to leave her for a while. She’ll be well looked after, with all boatyard services on hand. And with 8,500 berths to suit yachts of all sizes, you’re sure to find one that’s perfect – just pick your favourite island.

Lanzarote alone has 1,700 berths in its seven harbours, while the five ports of Fuerteventura hold 930 yachts. You’ll find 2,600 berths in seven harbours on Gran Canaria and 2,110 in Tenerife’s ten ports. There are 390 berths in La Gomera’s three harbours; and in the far west, 520 berths in two marinas on La Palma; and a further 140 in two harbours on tiny El Hierro.

5 The warmest welcome

The Canary Islands’ culture is steeped in centuries of nautical tradition, which means seafaring visitors are held in high esteem. And it’s an inspiring place for a sailor to be. Sit in the church where Columbus prayed before he sailed west to discover America and contemplate your next voyage of discovery.