The Martinique Yole, not a flash in the pan.

We are anchored in Grande Anse a lovely and large cove on the western side of Martinique.  We expect to be here for a few days before heading over to St Anne, the southern most harbor in Martinique.

The mile long sandy beach is lined with many beach bars to choose from.There is a very nice promenade along the water behind the bars. Of course, Pandora at anchor.  Yes, you do have to look hard to see her in the center. When we were near Fort de France, we were treated to a number of races by these amazing traditional sailing boats that I have learned are known as Yoles.  These narrow, unballasted open boats are decedents of traditional fishing boats and are unique to Martinique.

This link gives an excellent overview of the history of these fascinating craft.   These races are hotly contested and a major source of pride for the locals.

The races begin with the boats all lined up on a beach.  And then they are off.  When the gun goes off, everyone scrambles to get the boats going.   I took this short video while waiting for a ferry to take us to Fort de France to go to Carnival for the day.These narrow boats are heavily canvased and with no ballast, they rely on crew hiking out on bamboo poles to steady them.   To watch these boats go by, and they are fast, is an impressive sight.  Crew hike out on the bamboo poles to keep the boat from tipping over and sinking.    In and out on the poles to balance the boat as the wind gusts or shifts. Sometimes they are just holding on trying not to fall into the water. And sometimes it doesn’t go well. No need to stop, just don’t run over the swimmers. It takes a lot of big guys to keep the boats upright. Sailing these tippy boats is very athletic.  I am told that this is THE sport of Martinique.There are a lot of close encounters.  As the boats are so fast, they complete the races in less than 3o minutes.
This is a short professionally edited video from a few years ago.  Well done and pretty well captures the intensity of the competition.It was great to see these boats and their hard working crews make their way around the course.

With the designation as a UNESCO world heritage fleet, and the enthusiasm of the racers and everyone in Martinique, the future of this class is surely secure.

I guess I will close with a few photos that sort of captured a green flash last night, I think our third of the season here in the Caribbean.   What a beautiful way to end the day, rum punch in hand.  Actually, we were drinking Mai Tais.  Details, details…

Just before the sun set below the horizon. Getting closer. And, the brief flash of green.  Don’t see it?  Trust me.  I guess you had to be there or perhaps it was the rum…Hmm…Forgive me for what will surely seem like an awkward segue but here goes.

Yolos endure, unlike a green flash-in-the-pan…

Not my best ending, I’ll admit.

Time to jump on a zoom call.  Just love that Starlink.

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