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Cruising Guide to the Canary Islands

Two Ocean Cruising Club port officers working together to make unique cruising guide

Image may contain: 1 person, cloud, sky, ocean and text Mike Westin, the OCC Port Officer in Stockholm, Sweden, was cruising the Canary Island when he obtained excellent information from local PO Oliver Solanas Heinrichs. A year later they have produced a sailor’s guide to the Canary Islands together.

The seed to the idea of a new guide came from marina manager Rafael Lasso in Marina Rubicon. He had seen that many sailors just stayed long enough to fill up on water and food before leaving for the Caribbean. He argues that the Islands deserved to be explored more in depth, not just as a few weeks stop-over in Las Palmas. Mike is a boating journalist and wanted to make some articles about the “undiscovered” islands. When meeting Oliver this idea turned into a brand new guide book.

It is not a traditional pilot, but a guide made by local sailors for visiting sailors. They wanted the layout and presentation to be more modern than the current guides.

- Everyone is now having a chart plotter on board and the information needed in a guide is not the same as 15-20 years ago, says Oliver Solanas Heinrichs who also helped Hilary Keating with the Atlantic Islands pilot and was asked to update Jimmy Cornell's old Canary Islands Cruising Guide but this project eventually got 'shelved' by WCC, who now owns the rights.

Mike is an editor-in-chief of boating magazines since nearly 20 years and wanted the look to be more magazine-like, to appeal to a younger group of sailors. A concept that Imray immediately liked, admitting that they were somewhat stuck with all the traditions from a hundred years back.

- We wanted the guide to lure cruisers further away from the marinas and discover more of the islands, and that’s why we included a lot of land based sightseeing in the guide, say Mike Westin, and we will develop this more in the next edition. The hiking, water sports and nature on the islands are excellent.

They both agree that the Canary Islands have much to offer cruisers. Not the least the ’eternal summer’ that maybe is the greatest attraction for sailors from northern Europe. With the guide they have found a way to bring this information to more cruisers.

It has been an incredible amount of work to find all the correct information, which would not have been possible without local knowledge. Oliver’s girlfriend is native Canarian and have made test calls to every embassy and doctor etc. on all the islands. They also decided to include the marina prices — and boat yard prices — to make it possible to compare the different options for newcomers.

Most of the nearly 60 harbours, marinas and anchorages are supported by a chartlets made by Imray.

To improve the base material Mike and Oliver have started to make own soundings. In this first edition there is already a rudimentary chart of the anchorage Alcaravaneras north of Muelle Deportivo in Las Palmas, and on the way verified the two wrecks on the bottom, the existence that has been denied by port authorities for many years. Mike and Oliver hope they will make many more soundings of less well surveyed harbours and anchorages among the islands in the future.


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