Celebrating 20 Years of 'Hands on Sailing'

Sailing Holidays in Western & Eastern Canary Islands

The Canary Islands

Bits enjoyed most - "getting involved, learning sailing, meeting the other guests and crew, delicious meals, scenery, wonderful anchorages overnight, watching wildlife, climbing mast and bowsprit and steering." Anne S. 

There are many reasons why many European tall (and small) ships head South to the Canaries. As a winter sailing holiday destination there are many attractions:
  • Winter sunshine with typical average temperatPilot whalesures of 70 degrees F (21 degrees C) in January.
  • Good prevailing winds;There are wind accelerations zones where the wind blasts between the mountainous islands, and quieter areas closer inshore.
  • A a group of seven islands with a mix of day and longer passages between them with the deep seas between on the migration trail for dolphins and whales.
  • Many cetacean research vessels study here and there is a breeding ground for pilot whales off Tenerife. 
  • The worlds astronomy telescopes are here in the mountains as the night skies are so unpolluted so night sailing or a wander on deck in a remote anchorage under dark volcanic cliffs is awesome.
  • The Western Canaries are great for mountain walking with surprisingly lush vegetation, pine trees and terraces of bananas and many crops. The Eastern Canaries are closer to the Sarhara with sand dunes great beaches and a mecca for windy watersports and surfing.


Mini Ocean Passages to the Canaries - Become a Blue Water Sailor in 10 days

The Atlantic Islands of Canary Islands sit on the latitude where the butter melts and Trans Atlantic sailors turn westwards with the trade winds. Staging posts for square rig sailors and yachtsmen through the centuries, these mountainous island landfalls with lush vegetation are a welcome reward on our 10-14 day ocean passages.

There is more to becoming a blue water sailor than swapping oilskins for shorts, but a winter suntan and some ocean miles in bare feet on wooden decks certainly helps get you in the ocean wandering mood. Ocean sailors happily adapt to a watch routine and the constant motion of the ship day and night. Experience all the ships moods from glassy calms to white capped swells launching flying fish from crest to crest.

Bessie Ellen is returning to her winter playground in 2015/16 for some much loved island hopping.

Ocean Sailing Passages to or from the Canaries - all vessels dates and prices.

Bessie Ellen in the Canary Islands

The Lord Nelson in the Canary Islands

Explore the Western Canary Islands on traditional sailing ships

Poised on the edge of the tropics, the scenery inland ranges from volcanic peaks to primeval forest and the rich marine life offers a feeding frenzy for passing whales and dolphins. There are acceleration zones where the wind blasts between the mountains for exciting sailing and calmer spots where the ship can drift safely between islands whilst you swim in the ‘deep blue’ sea. This is helped by Tenerife having the tallest mountain in the European Union - Mt Teide which both funnels the prevailing winds and creates areas of shelter under dramatic cliffs.

The Western Isles include El Heirro, La Gomera, La Palma and Tenerife. We use Tenerife to start many voyages for the convenience of its international airport. The tourist strip in Southern Tenerife is not pretty, but it is only a short hop to the relative tranquility and unspoilt beauty of La Gomera. Alternatively up sailing past Northern Tenerife you can appreciate the more mountainous and remote end of this tourist hotspot and the snow topped Mount Teide.  Over 100 miles sail away from Tenerife is La Palma with its cloud forest and volcanic crater ridge walks amongst the pine forests. La Gomera and La Palma are both developing nicely as quality eco tourism and mountain walking destinations, with plenty of inland villages looking out over the ocean from steep terraced hillsides.

More on Tenerife - La Gomera - La Palma & El Hierro - sailing and exploring ashore

Eastern Isles - Mecca for Windsurfers and Beach Lovers

New for Classic Sailing are two voyages exploring the Eastern end of the Canaries Atlantic Island Group. Only 70 nautical miles from Morocco, Lanzarote has many obvious geological links with Saharan Africa. The African Coast and Canaries fishing grounds are very rich so it is a great place to buy fresh fish. There are more anchorages off islands like Lanzarote than the steeper sided Western Isles. Fuenteventura has sand dunes that would'nt look amis in a Lawrence of Arabia movie and the east coast has a whole series of beach anchorages. Surfers, kite surfers and windsurfers have been coming here for years for consistant winds and sunshine.

More on sailing in the Eastern Canaries

Whales and Dolphins

The South West of Tenerife,  Los Gigantes, region is internationally known as a permanent home and temporary feeding ground for a big selection of whales and dolphins. The species you are most likely to encounter are  the Bottlenosed Dolphin and the Long Finned Pilot Whale. Please note it is never possible to 100% guarantee sighting of whales and dolphins as they are free to come and go as we would want them to. However every effort will be made to visit the Los Gigantes area where they are most likely to be seen subject to weather and safety.

More on Canaries Marine wildlife and what you can see in this cetacean hotspot.



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