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Q&A with the Captain – Secrets of the Canary Islands

An Interview with the Captain of Morgenster

Island Hopping Sailing Holidays in the Canary Islands

Tall ship Morgenster has a selection of 6 night Canary Island hopping voyages taking place in December, January and February. Learn all about what it is like to explore this sailing ground straight from the Captain as he gives an insight into life aboard. 

View Canary Island Voyages

What is it like to sail a tall ship around the Canary Islands? Which island is the friendliest? What is the sailing like between the islands? What’s the weather like in December, January and February? Learn all of this and more with our interview with the Captain of tall ship Morgenster. 

Harry and Marian - owners and captain of Morgenster
Harry -captain of Morgenster


Which is your favourite island in the Canary Islands?

On La Gomera we have the best hiking experiences. There are no high heel tourist on this island. My favourite anchorage is The Valle Grand Rey in La Gomera close to the high cliffs, it’s spectacular.

La Palma is quite good for hiking as well with its huge volcano crater

Which is the friendliest Island?

On all these islands the people are quite easy going. There are differences between the concentrated tourist area’s and the other part of the islands. There is much tourism, but that is not the only thing. Most people live off agriculture and you can feel that. They are committed to the place where they live their lives for so many generations. But they are quite tolerant. There are hippy colonies on most of the islands that live a complete different life in full peace…

What’s the sailing like between the islands?

With the trade winds dominating the winds are generally from North East force 3 to 5. When the winds pass high islands there is an effect of an increasing wind along the islands, and even more if 2 high islands are at close distance. This acceleration can add up two more Beauforts on the average winds.

Sail on Tall Ship Morgenster with Classic Sailing
Morgenster under sail
What’s the weather like in the Canary Islands at this time of year?

The weather is quite nice, temperatures around 22 to 27 Celcius in the afternoon and 17 to 18 degrees overnight. The sky can be full blue, some days a little cloudy. If a low pressure system get far south it can push the trade winds away fore some days and delivers an overcast sky. On the weather side of high islands it can be rainy, but the rain tends to start somewhere up hill. The south western sides of the islands are generally dessert like dry. 

How many islands do you normally try to visit on a typical Canary Islands voyage?

We try to visit 3 islands, but with the dominating NE winds we prefer to observe the little windshifts in the weather forecasts to make the best of the sailing. We try to prevent motoring so we can hopefully journey around the islands using the wind as our guide. 

What do you love most about the Canary Island voyages?

The looks of the coast from sea is the best you can get. You feel like an explorer sailing in this nice weather over that deep blue sea. A grey something gets visible on the horizon. When you get closer it gets more colour and the shapes become more clear. Granite rocks of deep red brown, lava shapes almost black and lush rain forest in a lot of variety of green. On further approach we see tiny white and red spots cluttered to little villages. Close in shore we anchor for the evening. 

Sailing the Canary Islands
Sailing the Canary Islands


Where is best to spend New Years?

Las Palmas on Gran Canaria will have great fireworks and a lot of party-party in town, but when our guest come on board we will see what kind of New Year’s Eve they prefer

What is Christmas Day like?

On Christmas day we will be in port or anchorage early afternoon, so the galley is not to wild for the cook to perform the extra’s people expectations with a Christmas Meal. Our guests can have a mild walk ashore before we enjoy the Christmas Meal together. For digestion purposes the crew will make some music.

Any favourite bars or restaurants?

There are lots of them. In Santa Cruz de Tenerife there are much more locals than tourists in the bars and restaurants, what makes them a bit more authentic and interesting

Likely dolphin and whale spotting areas?

There are plenty of dolphins anywhere and whales close to Tenerife west coast and around La Gomera. We also spotted whales on the west of La Palma

Sunset in the Canaries
Sunset in the Canaries
Do you have any favourite walks ashore?

The best hike is on Tenerife from the little village Maska, high between the mountains, to the hidden landing on the beach. Maska was founded because it was difficult to find for pirates.

Do you arrange any trips ashore?

Up Mount Tide or around to its Lunar Landscape!

We help our guests to excursions. On many trips they will accompanied by our crew. These trips this winter are quite short, so excursions to Mount Tide means a day less sailing. But if our guests want to go, we organize it with them.

Which is the best harbour?

Los Llanos on Santa Cruz de Tenerife is our favorite port. It is a 5 minutes’ walk to the very center of town. Tall Ships frequently visit this port what makes it even more interesting.

Which is your favourite spot on Morgenster when sailing?

As a master I spend quite some time on the aft, but the fore deck is very nice to see the bow clipping the seas. It is the best spot to discover the dolphins playing around the bow often not noticed at all.

The platforms of the rig can be a nice pace to view the sea with the Morgenster below crawling through.

Which is your favourite point of sail?

Close hauled is a fine course, with a balanced rig and ample need to steer. On the course full and by she is like a horse smelling her stable. Beam reach is the fastest course if full rigged.

Downwind is, unlike what people might expect with a square rigger, not a favourite course. Because of covering the fore mast by the main you use just half your canvas and so reduce 50% of your driving power. Another effect of sailing square braced is that you miss the stabilising power of the rig. The rig will be indifferent in the rolling of the vessel, so there she goes.

Thanks Harry, Captain and Owner of the Morgenster!

View the voyages below to see dates, prices and availability for sailing the Canary Islands on a tall ship this winter. 

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