Canary Islands Cruising Companion

Andrew Wilkes reviews Marek Jurczynski's publication

In the preface to Canary Islands Cruising Companion, Marek Jurczynski says that he decided to write the book because the British guide (RCCPF’s ‘Atlantic Islands’) was last updated a number of years ago and that the alternative Spanish publication did not fully meet his expectations. He may have written that before the seventh edition of ‘Atlantic Islands’ was published at the end of last year. Marek could also have added that websites and ‘apps’ such as Noonsite, Navily and Captain’s Mate offer free or cheap crowd-sourced guidance to sailors cruising the Canary Islands. So, is another book necessary? The Canary Islands Cruising Companion, is an easy book to read. It is well laid out and includes many first rate photographs. The aerial views of harbours and their approaches are excellent. Harbour plans are clear and plentiful. Aids to navigation, particularly buoyage and lights on harbour approaches, are given in detail.

Descriptions are comprehensive and include some information not covered in other publications. However I did notice some omissions: officially, permission is needed to anchor at Playa Francesa on Isla Graciosa, the E cardinal buoy 8 cables S of Arrecife entrance is not mentioned nor is a by-law prohibiting sailing in Arrecife harbour. It is no longer permitted to anchor off Rosario and yachts are directed to the new marina. La Gomera marina is described as having no swell: we spent three weeks there and, like many Canary Island marinas, the snatching of our mooring lines was a constant problem. Swimming is dismissed because the water is too cold: we were there for almost two years and swam, at least once, nearly every day: there are some great beaches close to the various marinas.

Writing a cruising guide to the Canary Islands is not an easy task. Every major yacht harbour is covered in detail in Canary Islands Cruising Companion. However, there are also many fair weather anchorages which are often rolly in less than perfect conditions. These are often mentioned in various crowd sourced web sites and apps, but the provenance of the information may be suspect!

To return to the original question, ‘Is another book necessary?’ The new edition of the RCCPF’s ‘Atlantic Islands’ covers the Canary Islands in detail but this is one section of a big book which includes several other Atlantic archipelagos. You may not need all that information. The various apps and web sites can be useful but can they be fully trusted? Like so many navigation issues, the ultimate solution is to gather information from different sources. The Canary Islands Cruising Companion certainly has a place in this and the clear approachable style is much appreciated. It made me want to go back there!

Andrew Wilkes