SAILING CAMP – LAGO DI SANTA CROCE – PALESTRA DI VELA.
ONE SHOULD LEARN HOW TO SAIL IN ALL WINDS
I would like to introduce to you to the sailing camp on Lago di Santa Croce near the small town of Farra d’Alpago in the province Veneto. You could never imagine this lake to be the ideal place for learning how to sail. What makes it such a special place you may ask?
In order to properly answer this question, let me first describe where the lake is located. The Lago di Santa Croce is about 80 km north of Venice, just north of the most southern end of the Alps. So warm southern air reaches the lake unimpeded by the mountains.
Set your clock to 2: p.m. and hot thermal winds start blowing over the lake from south to north and they keep blowing for the entire afternoon. You can rely on this landward breeze of up to 22 knots until sunset. In a nutshell, that is what makes this lake so special!
Believe it or not, for years only a few people knew about this natural curiosity. Tullio Sain came across it by chance while visiting this region some 15 years ago. Now he is the vice-president of the Federazione Italiana di Vela.
He immediately understood the lake’s unique potential and took the necessary initiatives to open a summer sailing school for kids from all over Italy who come to learn how to sail and train for competitions and regattas.
The summer sailing camp starts every year on June 15th and goes for 4 consecutive weeks. It offers 5 different levels of instruction for kids from ages 7 till 18. They train with specialized instructors in different categories of sailboats such as the Laser, 420, 470, Contender, Optimist and International FJ.
One important summer event on the lake is a competition organized for the young sailors to experience their first competitive regatta. Some of Italy’s national and Olympic champions have learned how to sail here in Farra. Some of these young people have eventually made their way to become members of Italian teams that have participated in the America’s Cup.
The courses usually last for 5 days and the young people are well taken care of.
The young sailors stay in the Hotel Bortoluzzi where Signora Teresa, the owner personally assures that no kid will ever leave the table hungry. She even looks after those children who require special diets or an extra dessert if the winds happened to blow the wrong way for some of them that day ….
For many years the town of Farra d’Alpago has cooperated with the Federazione and the Lega Navale Sezione Belluno to develop and promote the sport of sailing.
Faustin Peterle is the local coordinator who works with the Federazione and the community to promote lake and what it has to offer to the sailing community. He gets involved because of his personal enthusiasm for the sport. His young daughter takes an active part in welcoming young groups of future sailors and champions by showing them around the place.
Farra d’Alpago is a quiet small town with beautiful views of the Dolomites and the crystal clear water of the lake. The sailing port is on the lake just opposite Farra d’Alpago and it is equipped with all the necessary sailboats, dinghies, clothing, and specialized instructors able to train anyone how to sail. The town also offers visitors the additional possibilities of exploring the high Dolomites, the Pian di Cansiglio and the surrounding world heritage cities including the crown jewel of Venice.
While talking to Tullio, I asked him what he thinks is the most important thing for young people to learn at his sailing camp?
This is what he said:
“Sailing is more than just a recreation. It is a learning platform, an observation post, a transportation system that teaches awareness and a new understanding of life. All crew members, both young or old, learn to take responsibility for the ship, for their shipmates and ultimately for themselves. They learn to trust themselves as well as others. ”Da spazio per l’anima,” it opens your soul”.
I would also like to introduce to you Tarcisio Segantin, the local vice-president of the
Lega Navale Italiana , the sailing association of Belluno. The Association was founded in 1970 by former members of the Italian “Marina Militare “. Today there are about 150 active members and their main objective is to promote competitive sailing as a sport. The lake’s unique geography and reliable thermal winds offer optimal training conditions for national competitions and international regattas.
The sailing season lasts from June to September. The local sailing school offers theoretical as well as practical sailing courses. Working in groups of up to 6 people, students can receive certification after passing the necessary test.
Let me explain the geological formation and the history of the lake. Tarcisio told me that the lake dates back to an earthquake around 1000 years ago. Sediment from the valley blocked the flow of the Piave River and formed the lake.
The lake is full of fish and the lake water is “drinkable “. Local authorities manage the lake carefully and take great pains to preserve the natural environment. No motorboats are allowed on the lake. The local community and the Province of Veneto are continually improving sailing facilities, always mindful about protecting the lake and the natural beauty of the area.
For those who would like to know more about this area, its facilities, and learning how to sail here, here are a couple of references:
Should you be in the area, you don’t want to miss the regatta BARCOLANA in Trieste.