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Traditional Mas Characters - Fancy Sailor

(Photo courtesy the Carnival Institute of Trinidad and Tobago)

The Fancy Sailor was an off-shoot of the King Sailor. The fancy sailor costume consists of papier-mâché headpieces, decorated and painted to look like birds, animals or plants. The sailor outfit is decorated with ribbons, medals, braiding, swans down and other embellishments to match the headpieces.


One of the most known and beloved of the Traditional Carnival Characters, the Sailor Mas was introduced in the 1880s when British, French and American naval ships came to Trinidad. The costume, which is relatively lightweight and inexpensive when compared to other traditional Carnival costumes, typically consists of a beret with the name of the ship on the rim of the beret, a tight-fitting short sleeve bow-necked striped jersey, bell-bottomed Melton pants, and black or white shoes.

There are several dances to go along with the Sailor Mas portrayal, such as the Crab, Marrico, Pachanga, Rock de Boat, Skip Jack and the Camel Walk.

There are several variations on the Sailor Mas including:

  • Free French Sailor
  • King Sailor
  • White Sailor
  • Fancy Sailor
  • Flour Bag Sailor (made out of flour bag with a sailor cap and tie)
  • Redhead Sailor (with a hood with red hair on his head made out of rope and red dye)
  • Head Mas Sailor (with a head mask representing the band’s concept)
  • Fireman,
  • and the Sea Bees (with blue dungarees and blue chamber shirts with a white sailor cap).

There are also Fancy Sea Bees, which were popularised by the Dem Fortunates Steelband of Belmont.