Although the Spanish mainland coast has been a mecca for British tourists over the years, most of the holiday sailing in Spain is in the Balearic islands, though there are a number of RYA sailing schools on the mainland coast.
Most of the sailing centres on Majorca (also spelled Mallorca), which enjoys a long season, though with increasing likelihood of unsettled spells in the earlier and later parts of the year. Winds are generally not strong, typically F3-5, though for those used to the often more sheltered waters of the Eastern Med, there is usually a bit more swell. However, the varied scenery and sandy beaches make it a great family destination and although you won’t escape the tourists, at least with a yacht you feel a bit closer to real Spain.
There are plenty of places to visit, though being coastal sailing rather than islands hopping, it can be hard to avoid some duplication of stops as you head back to base. You could go for a circumnavigation, but mooring options are fairly limited on the north west side of the island, and the size of the island should not be underestimated – you’ll probably have logged 200nm by the time you finish.
Alternative destinations if you want some longer sails are to head to Minorca (also spelt Menorca), about 35nm distant from the north east end of Majorca, or Ibiza, about 60nm off the opposite end.
For those that like being tied to something solid at night, there are plenty of marinas and harbours but these can get full, especially in high season. Marina prices are set accordingly so don’t expect to see much change from €50 per night for a 10m (33ft) boat, or €100 for a 15m (48ft) yacht. Cheaper facilities are offered on local authority quays but it’s hard to get a space on these as they are often fairly small.
There are plenty of places to anchor though frustratingly, some of the best spots are sometimes buoyed off to prevent boats getting in amongst bathers, and the area left is often just too deep to get a good hold.
The main charter base is Palma, although there are other fleets scattered around the coast. Palma airport is a very well served destination, with flights from most UK regional airports at least several times a week and often daily.
There are no flotillas in the area, and surprisingly, at the time of writing no RYA sailing schools either. For those wanting a bareboat or skippered charter there’s a good choice of yachts on which to explore this interesting cruising ground.
More details on sailing in Spain will follow once I’ve finished detailing the eastern Med.