An insider's guide to Gran Canaria
Cruise the Canary islands and discover what they have to offer. Mike Westin and Oliver Solanas Heinrichs look at Gran Canaria
An island of contrasts, Gran Canaria offers good harbours and secluded bays
Gran Canaria is the third largest island of the Canary Islands archipelago but its capital Las Palmas is the biggest city of the Canaries and home to the largest and cheapest marina, which, with its various chandlers and services, attracts the majority of visiting sailors.
This tall island (at 1,949m Pico de las Nieves is the highest point) has a varied climate. The north side is green and often wet and cloudy, while the south is an almost wholly brown desert and where the majority of the tourists congregate. The varied climate around the island makes it almost seem a continent in miniature.
The average temperature is a pleasant 21°C throughout the year and in November and December it’s still a good 19°C, but may fall to 14-15°C at night. Compared to northern Europe it’s still like summer and is the reason why millions of tourists visit every winter.
Local sailing conditions
The acceleration zones are strong on both sides of the island, the strongest being at El Descojonado on the west coast. There is a similarly strong zone near the airport on the east coast and at Punta de Tenefé, where you will see many wind turbines. However, conditions should not be too bad when you’re one or two miles outside these zones. The prevailing wind direction is north-northeast. Expect to experience the Canary Current of 1-2 knots going south. When you reach the south, the wind will normally drop considerably.
There are many harbours and marinas on Gran Canaria and it is fairly easy to find a berth or anchorage outside high season of Oct-Nov. There are few shallows and navigation is easy.
As well as a good choice of harbours and marinas there are some secluded anchorages to be found
Cruising Guide to the Canary Islands, by Oliver Solanas Henrichs
& Mike Westin. Imray, £29.50. This is a handy guide for those who want to explore the Canary Islands in depth or simply pass through on their way across the Atlantic.