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Sauna Sail 2011 - Surreal conditions on Hazelwood Pondage

by John Curnow on 14 Jun 2011
Alas, it comes from our very own Hazelwood Power Station - 2011 Sauna Sail Chris Furey
Sauna Sail 2011 is run by Latrobe Valley Yacht Club on the cooling pond for the Hazelwood Power Station, near Morwell in the Latrobe Valley, Victoria, Australia. The three day regatta is held each Queens Birthday weekend.

Quite simply, this is the kind of imagery could be from a Hollywood Blockbuster - maybe one of the 'Lord of the Rings' trilogy.

Alas, it comes from the Hazelwood Power Station and Chris Furey gives us a bit of detail on the story from Sauna Sail 2011, based on the initial report in Thermal Dynamics.

'We are here at a mid-Winter inland regatta called Sauna Sail. We're about two hours out of Melbourne, near Morwell, this long weekend. The three day regatta is held on Hazelwood Pondage, which is the cooling pond for the brown coal fired power station and the average water temperature of the pond is around 22DegC.

'The combination of very cold morning air and warm water produces amazing banks of fog, which either settle on or roll across, the pond creating surreal conditions and sometimes even compromising navigation for the sailors. It can get very interesting here when the breeze does choose to blow and boats of all sizes are hurtling around at high speed, with limited visibility', said Chris.


Deep Purple - you don't have to go too deep - I'll start you off. Smoke on the -----.

'The eligibility here, is that anything with a sail number can race and there are about 130 boats with sailors aged from 7 -70 years, taking to the water in everything from Optis to Tornadoes this year. It is very much a fun regatta, where many of the competitors camp in tents on the shores of the pondage and gather around roaring log fires each night, telling tall tales and true of past glories to keep warm. Protests are just about unheard of here and post-racing prize presentation sees a table full of assorted glassware and coffee mugs, with the winners called up to select what they want to take away and little ceremony, but much good natured banter. Kids and parents alike have a great time and the canteen ladies keep us all well fed. Race Management is good too, although their finish hooter could use a little work, sounding as it does more like the last muffled gasp of a heavy smoker, than the just reward for a well sailed race!'


Chris finished by explaining that, 'This regatta has been conducted since the mid-sixties and many have made it an annual pilgrimage to enjoy the sailing and the fun. So sailing doesn’t always have to be too serious and the hosts, LaTrobe Valley Yacht Club, have something very special here. For my family, like so many others, this event is locked in to our calendar and we will definitely keep coming back!'


Nice one - pics are ORCV website

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