Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Yola racing - Martinique

This past weekend has seen some keen racing of these boats each coming from a different island. On the Sunday morning a path was cleared through the anchorage. Not that it appeared to make much difference as the boats came charging through anchored boats causing a wild mixture of alarm and excitement. Little did we know! 

It was a two lap race and whilst steering the boat is done via a tiller it also doubles as a paddle when they tack to help push the bow around. 3 men to a tiller whilst the rest act as mobile and agile ballast. One person seems to control the mainsheet. The crews are vociferous to say the least, yelling instructions to the helm, each other whilst trying to keep the boat upright. 

 Open boats they need to be constantly bailed and with no side decks it is easy enough to get it wrong and flood the boat, dumping everyone in the water. The winning crew, on both races,came from Caracou and were joy to watch. No shouting just concentration they led the first race from the start but lost the lead on the second lap of the second race. The two lead boats were close but it looked as though Caracou would lose. The lead boat opted for the shorter line which took it closer to the fort which dominates the anchorage and causes a wind shadow. The second boat chose to rattle through the anchorage , maintained the wind and crossed the line seconds ahead. Exciting and colourful to watch at close quarters. 
The winning crew
poles are shifted rapidly from one side to the other as required

(below) The guy in the centre of the boat is controlling the main and they managed to keep sailing, despite the hull being under water, and crossed the line some 50 metres away..

 This yole came close to shoving one of the poles through the cabin window....rapid action from Jason got them away.