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The yole ronde of Martinique, cultural heritage of the island

Course of the Tour de Martinique des Yoles Rondes 2022

The 36th Tour de Martinique des Yoles Rondes was to take place over 5 days from July 26 to 30, 2021 with a new formula: the departures and arrivals were to be done in the open sea in order to contain the gathering of crowds. Given the health context, this edition has been canceled at the last minute.

The 2022 edition will be held from Sunday, July 31, 2022 to Sunday, August 7, 2022 according to the president of the yawl associations. The stages are a bit different from the last edition. You can potentially follow them on board your rental car in Martinique.

To better prepare you for 2022, here are the stages:

  • Prologue : Vauclin > Vauclin

  • Stage 1 : Vauclin > Robert

  • Stage 2 : Robert > Trinité

  • Stage 3: Trinité > Saint-Pierre

  • Stage 4: Saint-Pierre > Fort de France

  • Stage 5: Fort de France >Diamant

  • Stage 6: Diamant > Rivière-Pilote

  • Stage 7: Rivière-Pilote > Le François


Teams of the Tour de Martinique des Yoles Rondes 2021

In 2022, there should be no change and the crews of 2019 will certainly take part again in the 2022 competition:

  • UFR - Chanflor

  • C.T.D.M - EDF

  • Brasserie Lorraine - SARA

  • Zapetti - Miltis

  • G.F.A Caraïbes

  • Ets Rosette - Orange

  • SMEM

  • Mare-Gaillard mutual insurance company


  • Nautitan - Bricobat

  • Elizes- Madiana

  • Mr Bricolage - Smart Phone

  • Royal - ADEP

  • M.F.R

  • Diet Discount

It is the Yole Brasserie Lorraine which had won the title.

Safety of the runners during the event

It should be remembered that the priority for the Tour de Martinique des Yoles Rondes 2022 is the health of the couriers and that it will be necessary to deal with the evolution of the Covid-19 figures on the island. A strict protocol will certainly be followed depending on the situation by July 2022. Today the association therefore relies on the understanding of the people of Martinique so that the show takes place in the best conditions. We hope that all the efforts made, will allow the tour des yoles to take place for the 2022 edition! Find all the information concerning your car rental in Martinique on our website. Contact our teams for any additional information.

The yole ronde an atypical boat but typically Martinique

The Yole ronde de Martinique is part of the island's heritage and its history. An original and unique creation, typically Martinican, it is beyond its function as a boat, an authentic work of art.

History of the Yole, from fishing to sport

The round yawl was born in the 17th century and is the result of technical contributions from different components of the local population. Originally, it was the island's fishermen who used the boat. It allowed them to go fishing but also to move around the island and to transport material and goods (fruits, rum...). Recreational races between fishermen gradually developed, provoking enthusiasm among the local population. With time, the utilitarian side of the round yawl disappeared but the sporting aspect remained and even grew until the creation of a major competition in the Caribbean, the Tour des Yoles.

Characteristics of the Yole ronde de Martinique

Light and narrow, the Martinique yawl is fast, hence its interest for competition. The boat has no rudder, no keel, no ballast, and is balanced by the "bwa dressés", the upright beams on the sides of the ship. A complete crew is needed to steer the yawl. Composition of the yole The Martinique Yole, to benefit from this appellation, must respect certain criteria:

  • Only solid wood must be used for the hull (the frame, the bow, the foucas, the member, the garlands, the transom...)

  • It is conceived without plan, in the respect of the tradition

  • The normal yole must measure 10,5m

  • In addition to the hull, the Yolel is made of mastheads, gears, paddles, sails and accessories (false mast, tet pagay, upright wood...).


The crew of the yole ronde

The crew of the Martinique yawl is composed of a well established team :

  • The skipper : he decides everything about the yawl (choice of the crew, the sail, the paddle...)

  • The skipper's helpers : they assist the skipper in maintaining the paddle

  • The sheet : he plays with the sail and the ropes, he "listens" to the wind

  • The Bwas Dressés : they balance the yawl by counterbalancing the wind in the sails

  • The ropes : at the front of the boat, they counterbalance and stabilize and maneuver the small sail

  • The headphones; they empty the water rushing into the yawl

  • The "third man": the supporters who come in numbers to attend the competitions

The Martinique yole in the UNESCO heritage

Since December 17, 2020, the yole of Martinique has been listed as an intangible cultural heritage by UNESCO. A reward and a recognition of this component of the local culture and history. To see yole competitions in action, you will have to go to the coasts of Marin, Robert, Saint-Anne, Ducos, etc. To do so, don't hesitate to rent a car in Martinique. If your schedule allows it, take the opportunity to attend a stage of the Tour des Yoles in 2021, at the end of July.

Origin of the Tour de Martinique des Yoles

The yole is a traditional Martinique boat. First a fishing boat, it has become a sport in its own right! Many races, official or not, were held on board by fishermen or associations. In the 60's, crews of yawls have done tours of Martinique, in several stages. But the difficulty of the event convinced them to abandon new attempts. Over time, the yawl has even become an icon of the island, to the point of being part of the intangible cultural heritage of UNESCO since December 2020.

Georges Brival, the founder of the Tour des Yoles as we know it. In 1984, under the impetus of Georges Brival, a passionate of the yole and the Martinique culture, is realized the 1st Tour des yoles rondes in its current form. That year, 8 crews went around the island in a notorious success. The story was launched and in front of the craze, it was decided to reproduce each year the competition: the Tour de Martinique des Yoles Rondes was born!

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