35th Tour des Yoles Boat Race, the must-experience Caribbean event of summer 2019

Press release

Martinique’s Annual ‘Carnival at Sea’ set for July 28th to August 4th

NEW YORK, NY (June 5, 2019) – What started as a simple local event is now the national sport of Martinique. The Tour des Yoles is one of the most important nautical competitions unique to Martinique as well as a cultural emblem of the island. The event was created by local fishermen who combined their Creole know-how and the maritime legacy of sea navigation to product a distinctly Martinican event. This year’s event, the 35th edition, will take place from July 28 to August 4th throughout the island in seven stages. Book your American Airlines flight direct from Miami to take advantage of this unique spectacle.

All eyes will be on the sea that week as island life will beat to the rhythms of the event. All Martinicans are excused from work and the coastline is lined with people gathering to admire the colorful boats or enjoy the various musical events that accompany the race. You can even follow in the wake of the race by boat and cheer on your team.

The festivities begin in the town of Le François on Saturday, July 27th. While the exact route is still being finalized, these are the expected stages. The race kicks off on July 28th from Francois to La Trinité. The second stage on July 29th runs along the northern tip of the island from La Trinité to Saint-Pierre. July 30th brings the race along the western coast from Saint-Pierre to the capitol city of Fort-de-France. Stage four on July 31st traces the route from Fort-de-France to the coves of Les Anses d’Arlet. The fifth stage runs from Les Anses d’Arlet to Diamant on August 1st with stage six hugging the southern coast of the island from Diamant to Sainte-Anne. Stage seven on August 3rd goes from Sainte-Anne to Vauclin. The eighth and final stage will take place on Sunday, August 4th from Vauclin to Robert.

The "Yole Ronde" was created in the 1940s by a carpenter from le François, inspired by both the gomyé (or gommier) fishing boat and the European yole. At that time, the fishermen mainly used sail boats strictly for work. However, wild races were organized every Sunday and then with more frequency during the community celebrations in the towns of Le François, Robert, and Vauclin. The growing interest inspired the "Société des Yoles et Gommiers de la Martinique " in 1972. In 1984 the gums separated from the yoles and " La Societe des Yoles Rondes de La Martinique " was born.

The Tour des Yoles week is a moment of intense communion of emotion and fun where all eyes are turned towards the horizon and our sails deployed.

For Americans wanting to experience this festive moment, American Airlines is providing daily and non-stop service to Fort-de-France, Martinique from Miami, starting June 7 and through September 3, 2019.

For more information on travel to Martinique, please visit us.martinique.org

For more detail about the race, please visit https://www.tourdesyoles.com/tour-des-yoles-2019/


The French Caribbean Island of Martinique is also known as the Isle of Flowers, The Rum Capital of the World, the Birthplace of coffee in the New World, The Isle of the Famed Poet (Aimé Césaire) – Martinique ranks among the most alluring and enchanting destinations in the world. As an overseas region of France, Martinique boasts modern and reliable infrastructure – roads, water and power utilities, hospitals, and telecommunications, services all on par with any other part of the European Union. At the same time, Martinique’s beautifully unspoiled beaches, volcanic peaks, rainforests, 80+ miles of hiking trails, waterfalls, streams, and other natural wonders are unparalleled in the Caribbean, so visitors here truly get the best of both worlds. The currency is the Euro, the flag and the official language are French, but Martinique’s character, cuisine, musical heritage, art, culture, common language, and identity are of a distinctly Afro-Caribbean inclination known as Creole. It is this special combination of modern world conveniences, pristine nature, and rich heritage that has earned for Martinique several notable distinctions in recent years.

Hot off the press: In January 2019 OprahMag.com listed Martinique first in “The 19 Best Winter Getaways.” Martinique is also featured in the Caribbean Journal’s Best Caribbean Islands to visit and Best Culture in 2019, in addition to naming the Isle of Flowers “Culinary Capital of the Caribbean”. Martinique has also been featured in Travel+Leisure and the New York Time’s “52 Places to Go.”


Géraldine Rome
Martinique Promotion Bureau