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Sailor of the Year award goes to "The Grand Tour" founders

by Manuel Vlacich 28 May 07:40 PDT 25 May 2024
Tiwals sail near the megayacht A © TGT

Manuel Vlacich and Franco Deganutti, foubnders of The Grand Tour, were awarded "Sailor of the Year 2024" in the "passion" category on May 25, 2024. The ceremony for the thirty-third edition of the award was held at the Marina Cala dè Medici in Tuscany, in the province of Livorno, hosted by the Giornale della Vela.

For the creators of The Grand Tour it was already a victory in the sole qualification, therefore seeing themselves among the big names in sailing including: Ambrogio Beccaria, Bona Alberto, Clapcich Franceca, Mura Andrea, Pedote Giancarlo, Zennaro Enrico.

Sadly, only Manuel Vlacich could be present, as Franco Deganutti was close to the start of the 500 on the Carole - Sansego - Tremiti Islands route and return, with the Mini Transat ITA 303.

The group is close to a new "expedition" in the icy waters of Greenland (departure on 10 June).

In 2024 the formula will remain the same as before: three stages, in the same year and with the same boat.


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 challenging each other in a match race at the highest point in the world in the previous edition, on March 12th 2024 the team sailed to 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.


Tthe 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 TGT team will leave for Ilulissat on June 10th from Munich airport, obviously always taking the boats with them. After a stopover in Reykjavík, the team will arrive in Disko Bay when the average water temperature will be 2 degrees while the air temperature will be 5 degrees (today in Ilullisat there are temperatures of -6 degrees and heavy snowfall).

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.

Project details

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

The vessel that will be used for this edition of the tour 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.

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