About the Grael Project

Project Grael: Sails hitted for a Better World!
What is Project Grael?

Founded in Niterói, in 1998, by Olympic medalists Lars Grael, Torben Grael and Marcelo Ferreira, The Grael project is a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO), which aims to democratize the access of young people to the practice of the sport of sailing and, in this way, contribute to the social transformation in the lives of its beneficiaries.

Since its foundation, about 700 young people and children in the public education system, between nine and 29 years old, are being educated through sailing, swimming and canoeing and prepared for the labor market.In addition to the educational sport, from the age of 18, young people start attending nautical workshops and are introduced to some crafts related to boats, such as sailmaking, carpentry, fiberglass, diesel engine mechanics, outboard engine mechanics and electro–electronic installations for boats. The institution also offers library, environmental education and digital inclusion classes for all students, and joinery classes for children.

All free of charge.


Promote the culture of maritime life and expand access to nautical sports as an instrument of education, encouragement of profissionalization, construction of citizenship and social inclusion.


Our objective is to de-elitize nautical spots, and use them as educational instruments in building better individuals, providing tools for their professional preparation.


Equality, health and well-being, altruism, respect for differences, ethics, effectiveness, cooperation and sustainability.

Our Founders

Torben Grael

The current technical coordinator of the Brazillian Sailing Team, Torben owns five Olympic medaals, two golds, one silver and two bronzes. Gold was won in the Star category in Atlanta/1996 and later in Athens/2004 alongside Marcelo Ferreira. Silver medals came in the Solig category alongside Daniel Adler and RonaldoSenfftinthecityofLosAngeles/1984.Finally,thebronzemedalscameintheStarClass withNelson Falcão in Seoul/ 1988 and with Marcelo Ferreira in Sydney/2000.

Torben also owns six world titles, a Volvo Ocean Race (2008-2009) and a LouisVuitton Cup (2000), a competition thatpreceeds theAmerican’sCupdispute.

Lars Grael

The youngest sailor in the family, Lars has two Olympic medals. He was bronze in the Tornado Class in Seoul/1988, alongside Clinio de Freitas, and in Atlanta/1996 with Kiko Pellicano. In world cups he adds two achievements. the second title came in 2015, on star class, alongside Samuel Gonçalves, a former member of the

Grael Project. Lars, who had part of his right leg amputated due to a serious accident in 1998 still computes with non disabilitysailors.

Our History



Project Grael was founded by Olympic medalists Lars Grael, Torben Grael and Marcelo Ferreira, At Charita’s Beach, in Niterói/ RJ,Brazil.


The Grael Project becomes the inspiration for a Federal Public Policy – the NAVEGAR Project with 30 units across Brazil.


In 2000 the Rumo Nautico Institute – IRN was created, a civil association, governed by private law and non-profit aims, with headquartes and forum in the city of Niterói/ RJ, with the purpose of supporting, managing and improving the Grael Projet.


in 2003 the project received an honourable mention from the Itaú – Social Award, having competd with more than 1700 NGOs from all over Brazil.


in 2004 the Rumo Nautico Institute – Grael Project acquired new headquarters in the old hotel and restaurant Samanguiá, with a charming view of Jururuba Cove in Niterói/RJ, where all its activities still take place today.


this was the year that the Grael Project won its first prize in the “Criança Esperança” campaign and later, in the same period, the award for best project of the year, given in Amsterdam, by the International Nautical Industry. Also in 2005, the project was invited by the “Connect to Sailing” Program to perform at the ISAF Annual Conference in Singapore.


the Institute holds the Certificate of Organization of Civil Society of Public Interest since 2009 – OSCIP.


the Grael Project methodology is recognized as a Social Technology by the Bank of Brasil Foundation.


the Project opens its first decentralization unit on a dam, in Três Marias/ MG.


sailor Samuel Gonçalves, a former student-member of the Grael Project wins the World Star Class Championship in Buenos Aires- Argentina, alongside with Lars Grael. Since then, the duo continues to win titles around the world.

2015/ 2016

In early 2015, at the invitation of the then newly appointed Secretary of State for the Environment, AndréCorrea,areportentitled“GuanabaraViva”waspresentedthroughtheGraelProject,evaluating prevention programs (eco-barriers) and the removal of floating garbage (Ecoboats) of Guanabara Bay, aiming at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games and the proposition of the Guanabara Viva Program, a new action plan with an enphasis on the Olympic legacy. The report adressed the problems of Guanabara Bay and presented solutions to solve emergency needs, with a view to the Rio Olympic Games.


the Grael Project wins its 7th prize in the “Criança Esperança” campaign.


In 2017, the Grael Project was nominated for the Award “Canal Off – 5 Years” in the category “director”. Also in the same year received the Award “Sou do Esporte Solidário” for the work focused on social inclusion, which causes an impact on the country’s development. Also in 2017, an international partnership was celebrated with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime – UNODC , with actions to prevent youth through sports, in the context of the “Doha Declaration” program.


after completing 20 years of history in 2018, the Grael Project also started canoeing activities, sponsored by Laureus – Sport for Good Foundation, in partnership with Brazilian Canoeing Confederation – CBCA.

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