In Martinique for three days in February, it was possible to witness young nautical enthusiasts and sailors get together for the Martinique Carnival Regatta, one of the only Caribbean regattas to unite sailing and carnival. What an atmosphere! It was a real pleasure on the water, with a Martiniquais Vaval sauce.
From the 16 to the 19 February, Vaval inspired the organizers from the Club Nautique Neptune, Yves-Michel Daunar and Jean-Michel Figueres, who concocted a modest regatta program around Fort de France and along the Caribbean coast, linked with a Carnival atmosphere full of joy and good humor. They were supported by the Martinique Tourist Committee and the Direction de la Jeunesse et des Sports, Getelec and Arti.
All crews and amateur sailors took part with good grace. The Martinique Carnival Regatta could only last three days, from Saturday to Monday, a very festive period which included the school holidays and carnival parade.
Thirty-three crews of five, making 130 persons in total, took part mostly from Martinique or neighboring islands like Guadeloupe, in cruising divisions, keel boats and multihulls.
The Course, The Festival: Wind conditions were good (between 12 and 15 knots on average) with a beautiful sea. We witnessed some great battles on the water, notably between the Surprises in the Racing Class and the very quick trimaran Drabennec.
On Saturday 17 February, the race between Lamentin and Bourg des Anses d’Arlets (on the Caribbean Sea coast) took place. Crews reunited on the beach at Anses d’Arlets, bare foot on the sand, youngsters commenting on the maneuvers of the day, the races, smiles, a glass in hand: the open bar was set up beneath one of the palm trees. I met Kevin from the boat Big In: “There were four of us on the Surprise, we had a good race, but we needed more weight, which is why we came in sixth. Tomorrow we’ll do better,” they said, smiling.
Next, I met Emmanuel Velasquez (mentioned in the March 2007 article on the adventure of the Clippers Ship): “We were first in our class, even if our only new sail was the mainsail; everything else was second hand. Our team is finally complete.”
All of a sudden, the gathering was suddenly stopped by the Carnival orchestra group ‘le Dife Nana Pai’, arriving in a flurry of music; tambourine, trumpets, ti-bois, maracas and rhythm. The sailors joined in, dancing up to the village’s beach; a joyful moment for everyone—the population of Anses d’Arlets, sailors, and tourists.
On Sunday 18 February, there was beautiful weather; flat sea, light winds from 12 to 14 knots, with the course running from Anses d’Arlets via l’Anse Mitan, right up to the leeward side – a good contest between the Surprises, in which Clippers Ship took honors. The arrival was at the Ponton du Bakoua towards 4pm, and underneath the white ajoupa, litres of ‘Cachaza’ and ‘Iced Morrito’ were prepared, with the boats moored at the Ponton in 1m of water.
One crew was made up entirely of women; the boat Studio 10, all young, savvy teenagers. Maeva talked into the microphone with a little shyness in front of the local television station. A giant barbecue was also on offer to participants. A projection of magnificent photos on the restaurant screen at the Ponton was put into action, followed by music and partying. Some even danced on the tables.
The last day of racing came quickly, with the weather weeping the end of the Carnival Regatta. Fine rain fell on the water, visibility was reduced for the race between Ponton and Case Pilote, followed by a difficult approach towards Neptune. Participants were compensated with a marvelous lunch; dozens of whole chickens, rotis, vegetables and small cakes, followed by a joyful prize giving. All crews received T-Shirts. It was really a beautiful race, very well organized, and all look forward to next year for another Carnival Regatta.
Racing Class (4 races)
- CARENE SHOP
- FIGUERES SERVICES
- LYNX OPTIQUE
- ACMC FILMAX
- OPEN THE BARRE
- ASCE EQUIPEMENT FLOT MATNIK
- ARTI ZWELL VWELL
Racing Cruising Class 1
Racing Cruising Class 2
- CLIPPERS SHIP
- GFA CARAIBES
- AUGUSTE 1ER
- TRAPARINTER VENDANWELL
- STUDIO 10-LEPONTON
- FOU DE BASSAN
- TROIS SOUS DE POIVRE