Ballarat Regatta halted due to severe heat, wind

CRUEL winds and blistering heat severely affected what always promised to be a highly eventful Wendouree Ballarat Regatta on the weekend.

After temperatures in excess of 34 degrees on the water caused withdrawals and scratchings from Saturday’s races, several rowers were thrown in the water following a windy start that led to yesterday’s competition being abandoned by 11.30am. 

Racing began at 8am yesterday and the competition looked promising with 15 races being completed before 50-kilometre wind gusts rocked the rowers and the spectators.

Nonetheless Regatta secretary Lance Deveson still believed the regatta was a success, saying that the weekend of racing will hold the Ballarat teams in good stead for upcoming competitions.

“The Ballarat schools got good practice for the Head of the Lake and up until about 10am there were no scratchings – so as a rule I still think it was a great weekend,” Deveson said.

“It’s always difficult to cancel these kinds of regattas, especially when you have crews from Mildura and Corrowa coming down to compete.

“We had a duty of care to the rowers, it was getting dangerous; it ended up being something like the lemming effect – a few clubs made the call not to race and more just followed.”

The Head of the Lake will commence on February 28 with the lane draw tomorrow.