Sailor of the Year 2023, the stories of all the winners and the Jury’s motivations


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There were 60 candidates chosen by the Journal of Sailing for the 2023 edition, number 32, of the Sailor of the Year. The public, with 20,851 total votes on, chose the finalists in the 5 categories, the Quality Jury decided on the winners, with one exception: there are two Velisti of the Year, Ambrogio Beccaria and Alberto Bona, and below we tell you why. Also awarded in the categories Innovation. Young, Owner and Passion, also awarded the audience’s Most Voted to youtuber Emmalloru (the top vote-getter in the online readers’ poll) and the Epic to Careers award to Onorato. After telling you in a video talk show, hosted by Rachele Vitello and Mauro Giuffrè, about the winners (Watch the two episodes HERE and last night’s episode HERE ), here are the Sailing Newspaper Jury’s motivations for each category.

Ambrogio Beccaria and Alberto Bona

Ambrogio Beccaria and Alberto Bona embrace at the finish of the Route du Rhum

The Sailor of the Year Category in this 2023 edition gathered outstanding sailors with their stories and high-level competitive achievements, whether in Olympic classes or ocean sailing. In the finals chosen by the public came Ambrogio Beccaria, Alberto Bona and Cecilia Zorzi. All sailors who come from the world of ocean sailing, also confirming that this warms the emotions of cheering.

In exceptionally choosing a double winner, Ambrogio Beccaria and Alberto Bona, the Jury of the The Sailor of the Year looked not only at the regatta rankings. Results were taking more in Beccaria’s favor, with resounding second place at the Route du Rhum, second at the Defi Atlantique and RORC, and a recent win at the Normandy Channel Race. Bona had won the RORC Caribbean 600 and finished eighth at Rhum, third at Defi and sixth at the Normandy Channel Race. Decisive in the Jury’s choice, however, was the significance of their rivalry: two guys, two friends and rivals who have known each other since the days of the Mini 650 and who now that they are sailing on the Class 40s are “coming of age” in the sporting sense of the word, while they continue to respect each other on land and “play each other” on the water.

They won Sailor of the Year 2023 because through their sporting rivalry they are charting a course in the world of ocean sailing that can be an inspiration and example for other sailors, and their achievements in the Ocean are good for the entire Italian movement. They are proving that with talent, hard work and passion even Italian sailors can put on credible and winning ocean projects.

Passion – A “crazy for sailing” who dreams big

Alessio Campriani
Alessio Campriani

Alessio Campriani, a skipper from Umbria with experience at the 2019 Mini Transat behind him, set off last Feb. 27 on a new adventure: from Lanzarote to Guadeloupe on a small 5-meter self-built boat, starting from the hull of a Trident 16.

Campriani won because his is a true story of passion for sailing that proves that even with small budgets one can achieve unthinkable goals, such as crossing the Ocean with a Trident 16.

Owner – The monotype specialist

Gianluca Grisoli waves the tricolor after victory with his crew.

Winning in the one-design world, as anyone with racing experience knows, is the hardest thing there is because the result is never easy to achieve when the boats are all the same. In these classes it is the “handle” at the helm that counts, it is the adjustments and the millimeter setting of the boat to try to gain tenths of a knot of speed.

Gianluca Grisoli, owner and helmsman of RS 21 Beyond the Freedom, the 2022 World Champion of the class, knows this well. This is not the only title collected by Grisoli and his team in 2022, in fact before the World Championship there was the victory of the Italian Championship in Sardinia, in Puntaldia, during a very windy edition.

Innovation – The new wizard designers of Class 40

Gianluca Guelfi and Fabio D’Angeli

Can you make your debut in an ultra-competitive category like the Class 40s, almost as a complete unknown, and design one of the best and fastest boats in the fleet? Yes, if you are like Gianluca Guelfi and Fabio D’Angeli, two outsiders who have stunned ocean sailing with their Musa 40.

In her absolute debut, with only a few days at sea, the Musa, built by Sangiorgio Marine of Genoa, achieved second place at the Route du Rhum under Ambrogio Beccaria, astounding everyone with the resounding performance of an untested boat. For Guelfi and D’Angeli it was the sudden international consecration, and never had any Italian designer achieved such a result.

Young – From lasers to foils, a complete sailor

Mattia Cesana

It is often said that Italian sailing needs to start again from the young, yet our “Under” people have been around for many seasons now and have been winning in the world of youth classes one title after another. Like Mattia Cesana, one of the heritages of Italian youth sailing, who while waiting for his chance to become a grand champion is showing amazing things at the youth level in the ILCA, formerly Laser.

He had won the overall world title in 2021 ILCA 6 Youth and the under-17 one, in 2022 it was repeated with the general one. Italy’s Laser class, which is dramatically orphaned of talent that can bring it back to the podium area at the international level, is betting heavily on this rising star who nonetheless has a multifaceted sailing background.

Mattia Cesana also loves “fast” sailing and has tried his hand at 68F, a flying monotype, which has landed his name in Luna Rossa coaches’ agendas among the profiles to watch.

Sailor of the Year 2023. Epic – 50 years of sailing lived on the front lines

VIncenzo Onorato - Mascalzone Latino - 2
Vincenzo Onorato pictured at the helm of his Swan 38 Mascalzone Latino at the VELA Cup in Cala dei Sardi (photo by Simon Palfrader).

There are owners who are like comets. They appear suddenly, last the time of a few seasons where they quickly burn out boats and crews, and then disappear. There are others, on the other hand, who cross the ages and launch true sailing dynasties with their boats. Vincenzo Onorato is a shipowner and sailor, as well as a sailor as he likes to call himself, who definitely belongs to this second type of shipowner.

The Giornale della Vela’s Epic award goes to its 50-year history as an owner, with a name, Mascalzone Latino, that has made Italian sailing history and created a veritable dynasty of winning boats.

Vincenzo Onorato has had his adventures at sea, racing, cruising, fishing, in all kinds of boats: from super-performance monotypes like the Farr 40 or Melges, to the old Sparkman and Stephens Swans of which he is a collector. He calls his Swan 65 “the wife at sea,” the Swan 38 is the “mud-digger” with which he also raced the Giraglia. In his history as an owner, there have been boats of all kinds, from the old IMS to the Cookson 50, and he has managed to win in all the classes in which he has raced, thanks in part to his core of historic sailors-Flavio Favini, Adrian Stead, Vasco Vascotto, Lorenzo Bressani, to name a few. Not forgetting then the commitment in the America’s Cup with Mascalzone Latino, with two challenges, in 2003 and 2007, the second ending in the semifinals of the Louis Vuitton Cup.

Sailor of the Year 2023. Most Voted – The Youtuber Who Tells About Sailing

Emalloru aboard Pampero
Emalloru aboard Pampero

One of the great and long-standing problems of sailing is how to communicate it to the general public, not surprisingly, it is not easy to see sailing for example on television. Today, however, something is changing, because all you need is a smartphone to be able to tell the world about your adventures, and new communication possibilities are coming to sailing as well. The Youtuber, over 270 thousand subscribers to his social channels, knows this well, Emanuele Malloru Emalloru, Most Voted winner, a videomaker and content creator who has been producing content and stories on his YouTube channel for a few years now, chronicling sports and human adventures with a modern and personal style. Over the summer he was thunderstruck by the world of sailing and decided to buy a boat, Pampero, a Soxisix 9.50 1981 produced by Rax Cantieri of Sambuca Val di Pesa. Said and done, within a month Emalloru became a sailor.

He lives in Milan but is half Sardinian and half Sicilian, and the discovery of sailing was a kind of electrocution that reconnected him with his roots. After buying the boat came the somewhat crazy idea of circumnavigating Sicily, no small feat being a totally neophyte sailor. The misadventures have not been few in fact, but Emmalloru has turned them into a positive boost by recounting everything on his YouTube channel, good times and bad times



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