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The Grand Tour continues into 2024 - a third edition

by Manuel Vlacich 14 Feb 14:17 PST
A record attempt on Loch Ness © The Grand Tour

Franco Deganutti and Manuel Vlacich created the sports project "The Grand Tour Sailing" which now continues in 2024 and thus reaches its third edition.

The 2022 edition allowed the team of sailors led by Deganutti and Vlacich to enter the Guinness World Record for having participated with their Melges 24 in three of the most popular regattas in the world: the Bol d'Or on Lake Geneva in Switzerland, at Round The Island on the Isle of Wight in England and at the Barcolana in Trieste. With their Melges they faced 3,219 different crews in just one year, thus entering the Guinness Book of Records.

The 2023 edition planned to sail with the same formula which includes: "three stages, in the same year, with the same boat". The stages of the second edition were represented by Loch Ness in Scotland sailed in June 2023, from the highest navigable point in the world: Lake Titicata (+3,812m above sea level) between Peru and Bolivia tackled by sail in September last year and from the lowest point on Earth: the Dead Sea (-430m above sea level) between Israel, Jordan and Palestine.

This last stage is temporarily on stand-by due to the ongoing conflict.

In 2024 the formula will remain the same: three stages, in the same year and with the same boat. In this edition the crews will compete in...


The underground lake of St-Léonard is located in the heart of the Valais Alps in Switzerland. Over 300 meters long, it is the largest natural navigable underground lake in Europe. Thus, after having challenged each other in a match race at the highest point in the world, now the team will sail at the lowest point, even underground.

Discovered in 1943, the lake is located between 30 and 70 meters below the area's vineyards. The north wall is made of coal shale, a rock dating back more than 300 million years ago while the south wall is made of marble: impermeable rocks that ensure that water cannot drain laterally and remains within the cavity. A magical navigation, between crystal clear water and ancient rocks.


A city in Greenland where icebergs are born. The starting point for the greatest Arctic experiences is located on the west coast of Greenland in the spectacular Disko Bay 350 km north of the Arctic Circle. It is Greenland's largest bay and is famous for its towering glaciers and huge icebergs.

The team will be in Ilulissat in June when the average water temperature is 2 degrees while the air temperature is 5 degrees. Spotting whales and observing the Northern Lights will be an aspiration but the real objective of the expedition will be the circumnavigation of one of the icebergs that break away from the glacier.


A circumnavigation of the island of Venice. After having tackled the previous stages, this navigation might seem too "simple", however, between prohibitions, tides, maritime traffic, strong currents and above all a bridge that prevents the complete circuit: it will be a very intriguing challenge.

Why "before it's too late"?

There is an expiry date: by 2100 Piazza San Marco (St Mark's Square, Venice) risks constantly ending up under water and Venice, together with other coastal urban centres, rightfully enters the cities in danger of extinction. Estimates are for an increase of another 50cm by the end of the century. Piazza San Marco is located +80cm from the average level.

The Grand Tour team does not intend to replace science communicators or other environmental professionals. The TGT is a sporting initiative that has some issues related to sustainability at heart and, if it can, with its undertakings, leads to some autonomous reflections.

The project is also a candidate to obtain a Guinness Word Record for 2024.

The vessel that will be used for this edition had to meet some rather extraordinary requirements for a vessel: it necessarily had to be easy to transport, particularly by air. After a consolidated collaboration during 2023 with the French team of Tiwal, the sporting initiative has decided to renew the use of these boats.

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. They are tested boats, produced in France according to industry standards (more than 2,200 boats produced) and which, thanks to the modular sail surface, will allow The Grand Tour Team to sail in any conditions.

Event website:

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