UK Olympic Sailing Team Currently Training in the Canary Islands

We’re here in the Canary Islands this winter because the conditions allow us some brilliant sailing…It allows us to be really productive with our time on the water and off the water, it’s a brilliant place to be based out of”

– Sam Whaley, Sailor, Laser Class, British Sailing Team

The British Sailing Team are one of many professional sailing teams who have chosen the Canary Islands as their training base for the 2021 Tokyo Olympics. The climate and natural landscape of the Canary Islands, along with its specialised infrastructure for high-level training, make the archipelago a paradise for training and active sports for professional athletes. For this reason, a number of British sailors have come to Lanzarote to take advantage of the perfect training conditions prior to the upcoming Olympic Games, including Laser Class Sailors, Elliot Hanson and Sam Whaley, and UK Laser Radial representative for the Tokyo Olympics, Alison Young.

Elliot Hanson, the Tokyo 2020 GBR representative in the Laser class, is thoroughly enjoying his time training in the Canary Islands with the British Sailing Team.

Hanson, who took home the Gold medal at the 2020 Laser class European Championships in Gdansk, is one of many sailors from around the world who has chosen Lanzarote as a training base. He explains, “We’re really lucky to be here, and trying to make the most of it. It’s a really strong training group out here in Lanzarote internationally, with some of the best sailors from all over Europe. A couple of international ones outside of Europe as well”.

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to many events in sailing and other sports to be cancelled and postponed in the past 12 months. Hanson continues “We really don’t know when the next real racing we’re going to get is, could be the games, you know, we just don’t know. So much uncertainty with the calendar and globally as well. So, we just try and make the most out of every racing we do get, be it training. Also, just every day on the water”.

Sam Whaley of the British Sailing Team is thoroughly enjoying his time training in Lanzarote, “We’re here in the Canary Islands this winter, mainly because the conditions allow us some brilliant sailing and it’s obviously a very warm and temperate climate. It allows us to be really productive with our time on the water and off the water, it’s a brilliant place to be based out of.

Whaley is currently in the British Sailing Team P24 squad, the first level of the British Sailing Team. The aspiring Olympian continues, “I’m here to learn and improve about my sailing myself and to develop a great squad environment. It’s great to have such a sort of community here, even in tricky times like this, we’re obviously spaced out quite a lot, but it’s nice to see everyone here from Europe that has really adopted it as a winter base”.

Alison Young, one of the most feared and respected Laser Radial sailors in the world, is also finding the Canary Islands a great training base, as she prepares to represent Great Britain in the rescheduled Tokyo Olympics in August.

The Canary Islands offer the perfect conditions, not just to practice their sailing skills, but also for the athletes to focus on their physical activity. Young, who made history by becoming the first British woman ever to win gold at an Olympic class world championship, going on to finish eighth at her second Games, is getting great practice in daily, constantly developing her skills and fitness. The climate in Lanzarote has been hugely beneficial to Young and other sailors, as the conditions here are very similar to those the athletes will face in the Olympic Games in Tokyo.

The British Sailing Team are training in Marina Rubicón, ideally located in a sheltered bay on the south coast of Lanzarote, next to the protected peaks of Los Ajaches and a short sail from Papagayo’s superb beaches.

The natural conditions of the Canary Islands make the archipelago a paradise for professional training and active sports, offering sunny days, trade winds, several hours of daylight, as well as the opportunity to continue training at high level accommodation and sports facilities around the islands. In addition to sailors, many other elite athletes choose the Canaries as their training base, including surfers, triathletes, swimmers, paragliders, beach volleyball players and cyclists from all over the world.

The connectivity of the Canaries, even now, allows athletes to reach the Archipelago from the United Kingdom in approx. four hours. The islands have 1,500km of coastline washed by volcanic waters rich in nutrients and suitable for thalassotherapy, perfect for helping athletes with a quick recovery.

For more information on the Canary Islands please visit

For more information please contact Niamh Waters