Sailor of the Year 2024. Here are all the winners!

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Luca Rosetti is the Sailor of the Year 2024

The 2024 edition of the Sailor of the Year Powered by
Raymarine
with the grand awards ceremony at Marina Cala de’ Medici (which we will tell you about in detail tomorrow). We finally reveal who are the winners of the 33rd edition of the most coveted award in Italian sailing. We tell you their stories and why the jury chose them among the ones you voted for the most. Sailors, captains, innovators, designers, young athletes, less young influencers. Each of them is exceptionally talented.

All the Sailor of the Year awardees at Marina di Cala de’ Medici: from left, Medea Falcioni (Young award), Marco Trombetti (Owner award), Luca Rosetti (Sailor of the Year 2024), Enrico Bertacchi (CVC secretary, Save The Med award for the M.A.R.E. project), Gianni Cariboni (Epic award), Beppe Veirana (Most Voted award), Manuel Vlacich (winner with Franco Deganutti of the Passion award) and Matteo Polli (winner of the Innovation award)

Sailor of the Year – Luca Rosetti

Sailor of the Year – Luca Rosetti

The 2024 Absolute Sailor of the Year was born far from the sea. Precisely in Bologna, 29 years ago. However, Luca Rosetti (pictured) has the sea in his blood: he moved to the great Romagna of sailing, that of Cino Ricci and Simone Bianchetti, to learn the art of sailing. He learned it so well that in 2023 he won one of the toughest challenges in world ocean sailing. The Mini Transat, or the 4,000-mile solo Atlantic crossing (from Les Sables d’Olonne, France, to St Francois Riviera du Levant, Guadeloupe, with a stopover in the Canary Islands) on mini “boxes” of only 6 1/2 meters, the Mini 6.50: he won it in the series category, beating 58 opponents, many of them French, who are considered the masters of the Ocean. A masterpiece that of Rosetti, who did not exactly start on the favorite list.

A victory that matured in a second leg conducted almost from start to finish, with sidereal speeds compared to the fleet, and with an extraordinary ability to draw precise trajectories and place surgical gybes in the Trade Wind. His Mini 6.50 RaceÊre made up as much as 15 hours’ delay from Belgium’s Gendebein (accumulated in the first leg), inflicting significant delays on the entire fleet, considering that he gave about 60 miles of gap to the second-place finisher. Now his future lies in the Class 40s, the class where Ambrogio Beccaria-already the winner of the 2019 Transat and Sailor of the Year 2023-seems to be the undisputed king. Will Rosetti be his heir?

Why He Won: Luca Rosetti triumphed in the Mini Transat, the most physically and mentally demanding transatlantic race, accomplishing a “rematch” worthy of Barcelona’s against Paris-Saint German in 2017. He turned from “outsider” into an impregnable racing beast in defiance of the French.


Epic – Gianni Cariboni

Sailor of the Year – Epic – Gianni Cariboni

There is only one question we asked ourselves in the newsroom when the GdV Jury decided to award the Lifetime Achievement Epic Sailor of the Year award to Gianni Cariboni: “Why didn’t we do it sooner?” The answer is simple. It is in 2024, in fact, that Cariboni will celebrate its first 40 years in business. There could be no better occasion to celebrate Cariboni’s genius. As a child on Lake Como, he took tourists out as a paddler just to be on a boat. Today he is considered the world’s foremost expert on hydraulics and hydraulics applied to sailing. There is no America’s Cup or super custom boat that does not mount a Cariboni system.

He invented the canting keel, devised cylinders that are works of art, thought up cutting-edge rigging when he was dealing with masts. At 75, Gianni Cariboni has not stopped looking ahead, searching for the next innovation-always with a purpose. Making sailing easier. And without forgetting the two key lessons of Giulio Carcano, the designer who was his mentor: the first, “learn to listen to everyone in the design phase.” The second: “Things are right when they are breaking down but they don’t break down.” On our Youtube channel you can find a beautiful video telling the story of Gianni Cariboni and his design philosophy, we recommend you to watch it!

Why he won: Gianni Cariboni with his hydraulic and hydraulic inventions made sailing easier and affordable for everyone. He is, in fact, the co-inventor of easy sailing along with his friend and inspiration Luca Bassani. Its systems are on board the world’s most beautiful boats. Cariboni, born into a modest blue-collar family, proved that geniuses may be born, but one becomes one for real only with great determination and belief in one’s own ideas.


Owner – Marco Trombetti

Sailor of the Year – Owner – Marco Trombetti

You try it. Take an old, junked 1977 Swan 65, refurbish it, sign up for a vintage crewed round-the-world race (the Ocean Globe Race), without instruments or electronics, in the footsteps of the old, legendary Whitbread. Hard to say, let alone do. Plus, try to win the first two legs, dominating the next two until the hull damage (damn rudder skeg!) and finding the strength to restart twice, once after stopping in one of the most remote corners of the world, the Falkland/ Malvinas Islands, winning a race against time to stay in the race. Marco Trombetti, CEO of Translated, the company after which his boat is named, gave us an important lesson: it’s not about winning, it’s not about participating. It matters to arrive, to reach the goal.

Marco Trombetti’s Swan 65 Translated9, an Owener 2024 Sailor of the Year award winner, won two legs of the Ocean Globe Race, a crewed round-the-world race in stages

Born in Rome on March 14, 1976, a total stranger to the sailing world before this adventure, his is a story of passion, determination, resilience. His, and his crew which, among others, counted such sailors as Vittorio and Nico Malingri and Pietro Luciani and a celebrated coach as Paul Cayard. Marco Trombetti proved to be a true “owner,” an owner capable of gathering around him a solid team (consisting of 70% non-professionals) that never gave up. From a sporting point of view, then, let’s not forget that Translated 9’s is a unique achievement for Italy, which had never won a leg of the round-the-world crewed sailing trip.

Why He Won: Marco Trombetti, 48, completed with his Swan 65 Translated9 a round-the-world “vintage” crew ride without electronic instruments, winning two legs, facing problems that seemed insurmountable but solved thanks to an ever-positive mindset. Trombetti’s lesson can be summarized as follows: it does not matter to win, it does not matter to participate. Count getting there.


Young – Medea Falcioni

Sailor of the Year – Young – Medea Falcioni

Medea Falcioni was born on October 1, 2010 and has grit to spare. Suffice it to say that the Ancona native took first place in the Under 15 and bronze in the Under 17 at the World Championships reserved for youth and junior categories of the IQFoiL Olympic board in Cadiz. Not bad, for a little girl only 13 years old who, moreover, had already put her older opponents in line by also winning the European Championship, both in the Under 15 and Under 17.

But Medea is not only one of the baby prodigies of Italian sailboarding. “Besides being good in sports, she is also good in everyday life.” “She is a great kid both in sports and school and in everyday life.” “He is special in everything he does.” “Very strong Medea !!!! Good beautiful always helpful kind elegant.” “Truly a super special girl!!!” “An outstanding girl, I even coached her in the water personally.

Medea Falcioni, 13, is always smiling. He won the Young 2024 Sailor of the Year award for his achievements on sailboards

She has incredible mental strength.” These are just a few of the many comments we have received in support of her candidacy, and coming from those who know her well, they help to sketch her personality. Strong, humble, helpful. Like great champions. It should come as no surprise, then, that Medea Falcioni was voted by the Velista of the Year audience. The athlete-bearer of Ancona’s historic S.E.F. Stamura proves to be beloved, and it is no coincidence that so many newspapers in the Marche region have promoted “endorsements” of her candidacy. Medea’s passion for sailing comes to her from her grandfather, “the sailor in the family,” her parents tell us, who used to take her on his small sailing cabin cruiser as a child.

Why She Won: Medea Falcioni at just 13 years old won the IQFoiL Under 15 Youth Olympic Sailing Boards World Championships and came out on top at the Under 15 and U17 European Championships, ahead of opponents far older than her. He did so by demonstrating coolness, talent and humility. Characteristics of great sailing champions. Has a new Alessandra Sensini been born?


Passion – Manuel Vlacich / Franco Deganutti

Manuel Vlacich and Franco Deganutti with the March copy of the Journal of Sailing ready to sail on the underground lake in Switzerland

It takes passion, but a lot of passion, to embark on an adventure like Manuel Vlacich (39) and Franco Deganutti (55) did-think that the two Italian sailors even ended up in the Guinness Book of World Records. What did they do? In 2022, they invented “Grand Tour” sailing: they participated with their Melges 24 in the world’s most crowded regattas (the Bol d’Or on Lake Geneva, the Round the Island at the Isle of Wight, the Barcolana), racing against 3,219 crews and about 30,000 opponents in a single year.

But this is only the beginning. In 2023 to raise awareness about the health of our waters, they focused on lakes. This time they left the Melges in the garage in favor of the small inflatable Tiwal dinghies (just over three meters) and set off for Loch Ness, where they challenged the monster “Nessie” by crossing the 20-mile lake in 4 hours and 59 minutes (another certified record).

Above, Franco Deganutti and Manuel Vlacich circumnavigate the superyacht “A” in Trieste

Then they gave rise to the “highest match-race in the world.” They took their microderivatives to Lake Titicaca, Bolivia, where they circumnavigated Isla del Sol in nine hours-they were at an elevation of 3,812 meters. Vlacich and Deganutti were then supposed to move to the Dead Sea, to sail to the lowest point in the world (-430 a.s.l.), but the international situation did not allow it.

The two did not lose heart, however, and with their determination they managed to navigate underground. They had the doors of the underground lake in St. Leonard, Switzerland, the largest in Europe, opened. The feat was accomplished again aboard their faithful Tiwal. Now the goal is to sail to Greenland, to Disko Bay: 350 km north of the Arctic Circle. Spotting whales and watching the Northern Lights will be a “plus,” but the real goal of the expedition is to circumnavigate one of the icebergs that break off from the glaciers.

Why They Won: Manuel Vlacich and Franco Deganutti, inventors of “The Grand Tour Sailing” project, have traveled around the world with their small dinghies (Melges 24s and inflatable Tiwal dinghies) sailing nearly 4,000 meters above sea level, below sea level, challenging lake monsters, racing against 30,000 sailors. Passion – lots of it – and a spirit of adventure guide their ventures. The two were the favored candidates from the start to win the “Passion” Sailor of the Year award.


Innovation – Matteo Polli

Sailor of the Year – Innovation – Matteo Polli

Who is the most successful designer of the past 10 years, we asked ourselves in the newsroom as we were deciding who to give the Innovation award of the Sailor of the Year to? Matteo Polli is the answer. Goriziano by birth (happened in 1980), Polli grew up sailing in the Gulf of Trieste, one of the times of world sailing: he’s a good sailor, Matteo (as a young man he joined the National Laser team), but he soon realizes that what intrigues him, more than helming boats, is understanding how they work.

He enrolled the Nautical Technical Institute with a shipbuilder focus, then was in Southampton where he graduated with honors in Yacht and Powercraft Design. He cut his teeth at the Starkel studio, then in 2005 was hired as a yacht designer at the 2emmemarine shipyard, overseeing the design of successful sailboats such as the M37. Together with Maurizio Cossutti then he optimizes the performance of numerous boats for ORC and IRC fee races. Polli’s name is beginning to circulate as that of the “wizard of ORC.”

GS 44 has dominated the ORC World Championships in Class B for three years (2021, 2022, 2023). Sailor of the Year “Innovation” winner Matteo Polli designed it

In 2011 he moved to Italia Yachts as chief designer and project manager signing the hull lines of the Italia 15.98, Italia 12.98, Italia 9.98 and 11.98. Very fast boats that still win international championships today. In 2018 he continued his career as an independent designer, founding Matteo Polli Yacht Design.

One of his big clients is Grand Soleil for whom he is now the main designer (of both the Performance and Long Cruise ranges, from the small 30-foot Blue to the mammoth 72-footer). The Grand Soleil 44 Performance has not disproved its name as the “wizard of ORC”: it has won ORC Worlds three times in a row, in 2021, 2022 and 2023 (as well as the European Championships in 2023). His palmares as a designer include six other ORC world championships (Italy 998 and 11.98) and countless other titles.

Why he won: Matteo Polli, 44, is the world’s most successful designer in recent years. From 2015 to the present, his boats have won nine ORC world titles, four European titles and achieved many top international placings. But Polli is not only the “wizard of ORC.” Working with Grand Soleil, he has shown that he knows how to design beautiful boats. Without ever betraying its “racing” DNA.


Most Voted – Joseph Veirana

Sailor of the Year – Most Voted – Joseph Veirana

Did you know that there is a 59-year-old gentleman from Savona who, on social media, has the same number of followers as Luna Rossa? His name is Joseph Veirana, and by trade he is a sailor aboard his Hanse 470E with which he does charters, sailing school, and sailing licenses. He bought them his 214,000 followers, you will say. But not by a long shot: that his community is all his own doing, we knew right away when he shot to the top-never to be undermined-by the “Most Voted” list of Sailor of the Year, garnering thousands and thousands of preferences.

In this collage, a bit of capture from the reels of Giuseppe Veirana, the 59-year-old Savona social media king who won the Sailor of the Year Most Voted 2024 award

“I certainly didn’t do it to win the Musto cerata that was due to the top vote-getter,” he lets us know (but as a good Ligurian, we have some suspicions!), “but for pure fun.” Giuseppe, known as Beppe, has been boating since 1974 but the limelight came last year with the help of his friend Samuele Agostino, a 22-year-old social media manager who assists him in Instagram stories and reels.

Viral content in which Beppe teaches the basics of sailing and rattles off pearls of seafaring culture, always in between “belin.” Beppe has come up with his own way of popularizing sailing. A way that works. Born in 1965, he has been boating since childhood, his first races were on the Optimist: in 1992 he realized that he could make his passion into a profession and founded Dimensione Vela.

Why he won: Giuseppe Veirana, known as Beppe, was the top vote-getter in the “Most Voted” Sailor of the Year category, where the winner was the one who gathered the most votes. But Beppe is much more: he is proof that you can become a sailing influencer at the dawn of your 60s, with more than 200,000 followers (just like Luna Rossa!). His secret? He tells in stories and reels about sailing in his own way, dispensing pills of seafaring and sailing culture within everyone’s reach. Viral content that launched him as a social superstar.


Save the Med Special Award – M.A.R.E. Project.

This year there was another big news. The Save The Med special award dedicated to those who have implemented concrete initiatives aimed at defending our sea. And of the M.A.R.E. (Marine Adventure for Research and Education) monitoring project carried out by the Caprera Sailing Center Foundation with the scientific collaboration of One Ocean Foundation, we really liked the concreteness.

Catamaran One
Catamaran One (a Bali 4.8) is the sailing platform of the M.A.R.E. project.

Between 2022 and 2024, the project’s Catamaran One toured the Mediterranean (Tyrrhenian in 2022, Adriatic in 2023, now the Northwest Mediterranean) collecting water samples and animal DNA allow water health status and biodiversity. A study of this magnitude has been missing since the 1980s!


35,000 votes for seven winners, the roadmap for Sailor of the Year

  • We presented you with all the winners of the 2024 Sailor of the Year (the most prestigious award in Italian sailing, awarded by the Giornale della Vela since 1991). You chose the best ones. Here’s how.
    In the first round of voting, from April 27 to May 20, we asked you to vote for the 50 candidates in the race divided into five categories: Sailor of the Year Absolute (the one who excited us the most during the season), Passion (the one who accomplished an outstanding feat, moved by passion), Owner (to the owner who has accomplished something great), Innovation (the one who has moved sailing forward), Young (Best Under 25 in Italian sailing). In addition to these, there were also the Velisti dell’Anno Most Voted, or nominees submitted by the public (the winner is simply the one with the most votes), and the Velista dell’Anno Epic award for the career of a big name in Italian sailing given by GdV: Gianni Cariboni.
  • More than 35,000 of you voted. At the end of the voting, from the five highest-rated in each category (except Most Voted, which had already been decided by the public vote), the Journal of Sailing’s jury of merit chose-not without some difficulty-the winners.
  • At the big Sailor of the Year 2024 party at Marina Cala de’ Medici today we unveiled utti the winners whose stories we tell you in these pages: Luca Rosetti (Sailor of the Year Absolute 2024), Gianni Cariboni (Sailor of the Year Epic), Marco Trombetti (Sailor of the Year Owner), Medea Falcioni (Sailor of the Year Young), Manuel Vlacich and Franco Deganutti (Sailor of the Year Passion), Matteo Polli (Sailor of the Year Innovation), and Beppe Veirana (Sailor of the Year Most Voted).

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