After receiving special dispensation from the Spanish government, British sailors Hannah Mills and Eilidh McIntyre, are among more than 200 sailors from 35 countries who have chosen the Canary Islands to prepare for this summer’s Tokyo Olympics.
The natural conditions of the Canary Islands, along with its specialised infrastructure for high-level training, make the archipelago ideal for training for athletes from a wide range of disciplines.
Hannah and Eilidh are training in Lanzarote, taking part in a number of practice regattas to prepare for the Olympics. The conditions in Lanzarote are very similar to those the sailors will face in Hiroshima, Tokyo, where the sailing events of the Games will be held.
Even Japanese teams have decided to change their home for the Canary Islands to prepare for the big event. “Lanzarote is very similar to Hiroshima, with a lot of wind and big waves. Moreover, here we have sun, good weather every day and a lot of activities that allow us to prepare ourselves outside of the water as well. That is why we decided to come to the Canary Islands,” says Eri Hatayama, Japanese Nacra 17 sailor.
José Juan Lorenzo, manager of Canary Islands Tourism, said: “It is an extraordinary thing. We have the elite of world sailing here. The vast majority of the sailing Olympians are in Lanzarote, it is almost like a pre-Olympic event. The natural conditions of Lanzarote and the Canary Islands for the practice of sport sailing are key. Here the teams can maximize their training thanks to the conditions offered by the islands.”
The large influx of sailors to the Canary Islands led the Real Club Náutico Arrecife and Marina Rubicón, alongside the Canarian Sailing Federation, to organise the 2021 Lanzarote Olympic Winter Regatta, which took place from 16 – 28 January. The 470, 49er, FX, Finn, Nacra 17, ICLA 6 and ICLA 7 classes competed. In the 470 Women’s fleet, the UK’s Hannah Mills and Eilidh McIntyre finished second.