With summer yet to begin, the Real Club Náutico de Gran Canaria (RCNGC) has already started gearing up for the winter sailing season and sent out its first invitations.

Dates have been set for the four international events the RCNGC will be hosting from December 2014 to February 2015: Semana Olímpica Canaria de Vela – Trofeo Real Club Náutico de Gran Canaria, from 6-8 December; Trofeo Internacional AECIO, from 26-29 December; Trofeo Isla de Gran Canaria, on 10 and 11 January, and Regata de Carnaval, Ciudad de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, on 14 and 15 February.

During the coldest months of the year, when one half of Europe’s shivering and the other half’s freezing, some of the world’s best sailors choose the waters of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria for their winter training because of the excellent sailing conditions and spring-like temperatures.

In December 2013 alone, 18 countries sent their national or Olympic teams to train and compete in the bay of Gran Canaria’s capital city.

Many teams follow the example of the British RS:X team (whose members include Nick Dempsey, silver medallist in London 2012), spending several months in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria with the occasional trip home for competitors.

Spanish women’s RS:X medal winner Marina Alabaú and Australian Darren Bundock (14-time world champion, two-time Olympic medallist and winner of the 2013 America’s Cup in the Oracle class) are some of last season’s names. After her experience on the island, Alabaú announced through a local newspaper in February that she’d definitely be swapping Brazil for Gran Canaria for winter training. Alabaú praised the weather conditions in the sailing area, the comforts and conveniences of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, and the proximity to mainland Spain.

Countries that have sent their sailors to train and compete in the waters of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria include Russia, Lithuania, Finland, Sweden, Italy, Portugal, Norway, Denmark, Germany, Poland, Iceland, Canada, Turkey, the United Kingdom, Holland, Slovenia, China (Hong Kong) and Peru.

In the 2013/14 season, national and Olympic teams in the Laser, 470, R:SX and Nacra 17 classes came to train in the city’s bay.

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