The Yoles Race

The Sailing Tour of Martinique by Yoles (traditional Caribbean fishing boat) is by far the most important sports event of the year. It takes place every year between the end of July and early August.

Sailing Tour History

Sailing races were always a tradition in Martinique: in the old days the “gommiers” (ancient pirogue) fishing boat that was named after the Rubber Fig Tree those were made of Gommier (Rubber Fig Tree).
The Patronal festival were the perfect time to set up these boat Races for the delight of the population. With the increasing scarcity of the Rubber Fig Trees in the Martinican forests, the Yoles slowly replaced those boats, nonetheless you can still witness those antic boats racing. Miming the replacement phenomenon in the fishing field it is the same in the race.

In May 1966, four Yoles named Etoile, Frisson, Mouette & Odyssée challenged themselves to do the Tour of Martinique. With the help and support of fishermen, the sailors did reach their goals in five steps.
The year after the Tour took place again, but this time in 4 steps. Nonetheless with a whole of navigation difficulties they decided to end the Tour in 1968.

The Society of the Racing Yoles and Gommiers of Martinique was founded in 1964, with the purpose of organizing and structuring that field more and more popular each year, to build some team spirit between the contestants, and to make sure the rules were respected.

The Tour of Martinique of the Round Yoles, the one still existing to this day was a project created by Georges Brival. Back in 1984, he launched his first race which has still the same formula till this day, from the Sunday 11th of August till the Thursday the 15th of August. Eight Teams were sailing the 110 nautical miles of the race, and that first was an incredible success. Since then the Tour takes place every year.

In 2014, 30 years after the launching of the Tour, it’s now 18 yoles starting the race at the Plage du Bourg in Fort de France.

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Ziléa, the club of Tourism and Holidays Professionals in Martinique is the professional alliance of the key players in tourism of the Island.

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