Yoles Boat Race in Martinique

Yoles Boat Race in Martinique

Yoles Boat Race in Martinique July 30 - August 6

Yoles Boat Race in Martinique

Yoles Boat Race in Martinique

Martinique’s summer schedule of festivals and special events offers fun and excitement for foodies, sports enthusiasts, the culturally curious, and more. One event, above all, incorporates these many interests, with a flair that is distinctly Martiniquais – the Tour des Yoles Boat Race.

An annual highlight of the Martinican social calendar, the Yoles Boat Race is a veritable Carnival At Sea. In addition to being a great “fête”, it also helps to preserve Martinique’s rich seafaring past underlining the importance that the daily catch still holds in the island’s local society today. Yole boats are constructed with great attention to detail, maintaining the grand tradition of Martinican fishing vessels initially developed by local craftsmen in the 1940’s. Each vessel flies brightly colored rectangular sails over rounded canoe-like wooden hulls made from local pear trees.

Teams representing various towns across Martinique compete, as visitors and locals turn out by the thousands each day of the race to offer enthusiastic support and enjoy the festivities. Charter boat operators offer affordable race packages, including meals, excursions to secluded beaches, and more, allowing visitors to experience the race up-close and at sea.

The race is contested over seven stages, one stage per-day for a full week. Each day’s race culminates in a carnival-style celebration complete with live music, dancing, food, and fun. The course eventually sees the yoles circumnavigate the entire island in a counterclockwise fashion, with the largest fête reserved for the race finale and the crowning of the overall winner.