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Gran Canaria

Local Sports

Vela Latina (Lateen Sailing)

n Gran Canaria, the Canary Lateen Sailing regattas attract a great following and have done for years. The exact origin of the sport is unknown but researchers maintain that it dates back to the times of the original aborigine islanders who knew how to build boats out of wood.

Three lateen sailing boats surging the ocean waves
A group doing Canary Lateen Sailing

This particular type of regatta is characteristic in that the sails are triangular and for the total lack of proportion between the enormous mast and the hulk of the boat. The boat measures 6.55 metres from stem to sternpost, 2.37 metres wide and 1.35 metres forestay, sharply contrasting with the dimensions of the sail that normally measures between 12 and 13.5 metres. This means that the boat can only stay upright and afloat if the crew is highly skilled and manoeuvres it correctly, counterbalancing weights and using all their strength to that end.

"Vela Latina Canaria" regattas are organised up and down the coastline of the capital city of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria from April through to October, taking advantage of the Trade Winds. The Lateen sailing teams have their fans and clubs. Just like Canary wrestling or, what is the same, “lucha canaria”, lateen sailing is organised by a federation that directs the competitions and events held on many Sundays in the by around las Palmas de Gran Canaria.