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Plans are laid for The Grand Tour 2023 - Before it's too late

by Franco Manuel 23 May 2023 08:10 PDT
Plans are laid for The Grand Tour 2023 - Before it's too late © Eugenio Giaccone

The two sportsmen, Franco Deganutti and Manuel Vlacich, who created the sports project "The Grand Tour" in 2022 are continuing it in 2023.

The 2022 edition saw participation in three of the most popular sailing regattas, in the same year, with the same boat.

The crew on board the Melges 24 'The Italian Job' (ITA 433) took part in the Bol d'Or on Lake Geneva, the Round The Island (Isle of Wight, UK) and in the Barcolana in Trieste. In total 3219 different crews were faced in just one year. The initiative was awarded a Guinness Word Record certified by the organization in May 2023.

The 2023 edition plans to sail with the same formula: three stages, in the same year, with the same boat.

First on Loch Ness in Scotland, then at the lowest point on Earth: the Dead Sea (430m below sea level) between Israel, Jordan and Palestine. Finally at the highest navigable point in the world: Lake Titicata (3,812m abvoe sea level) between Peru and Bolivia.

Three very different lakes, three completely opposite climatic situations, and a logistical challenge. The objectives are to tell our interlocutors how a real emergency exists not only in the seas and oceans of the world, but also in lakes. This is the reason for the phrase "before it's too late" (updated calculations predict the almost total drying up of the Dead Sea by 2050).

The name "The Grand Tour" is meant to be a reminder of what was a long journey in continental Europe undertaken by aristocrats starting from the 18th century and intended to perfect their knowledge. Today's tour includes a long journey to non-EU states, crossed with the aim of perfecting nautical skills, as well as the departure and arrival at the same city (Monfalcone, northern Italy) - those are the elements that unite the sailors and from which the name was born.

The first stage is scheduled for June 17 on Loch Ness in Scotland. The time window for concluding the north- south or east-west crossing of the lake is scheduled for 4 days and, depending on the weather conditions that the crews will find, the route will be evaluated.

In the following months, the dates of the future stages will be published, conditioned by the typical atmospheric conditions of the places where they will take place, avoiding the too hot period in the Judean desert and too cold in the Andes mountain range.

The craft that will be used for this edition of the Tour had to meet some rather extraordinary requirements for a boat: it necessarily had to be easy to transport, especially by air. We will cover more than 32,000km and sail on a difference in altitude between stages of 4,200m.

Therefore, after careful research and comparisons with the various manufacturers, the boats we have decided to use for this venture are Tiwals. These are inflatable dinghies with a high-performance aluminum structure that can be transported in two bags and can be easily assembled anywhere and without tools in less than 20 minutes.

These are tested boats, manufactured in France according to industry standards (more than 2,200 boats produced) and which, thanks to the adjustable sail area, will allow us to sail in any conditions.

The first tests have already taken place at the headquarters of our club: the Oscar Cosulich Sailing Society of Monfalcone and on Lake Misurina in the hamlet of Auronzo: the largest lake in Cadore at an altitude of 1,754 meters above sea level still partially ice cold during our tests.

The feat can be followed on the social channels also used for the previous edition:

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