Saturday, August 8, 2009

Dutch Open, Task 3 & 4

Task 3 saw very good flying conditions and a 118 km task was set. The task launched at Aspres. 1st Turnpoint was montagne d'Oule, then Chabre, then back to Pic de Bure before heading towards Hongrie and landing at the camping.
I managed to get to Chabre and then didn't have a good plan to get to Pic de Bure. Just before arriving at d'Oule for the second time, I flew through a 2 m/s thermal, thinking that it would be better at d'Oule itself. That wasn't the case and I landed at 61 kms. Bad mistake! Fell from 22nd in the general classification to 27th.
Yesterday a small cold front came through and thunderstorms were predicted. If we were to fly, it was going to happen early. A 90 km task was set with early start gates. It soon became evident that there was going to be overdevelopment, so I started early to do as much as I could before the task became too dangerous or got stopped. A large cloud developed over Aspres and we all waited at the base for the first start gate. Flying under the cloud to get lift and then heading out in the blue again to avoid being sucked up. Quite a nice game :-)
I started with the first gaggle and made the unbelievable error to leave them when I saw Richard gliding better 2/3 kms to my right hand side. In between was sink... A very short 47 min. flight was the result and I got rewarded with minimum distance. Don't know the effect on the overall results yet. The task was stopped when the leaders were 50 kms into it. About 17 pilots hadn't even been able to start at that point.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Dutch Open, Task 2, my first lead point :-)

Yesterday we left for the Apres launch. A stable day was predicted with thermal tops 2400-2800 m. That proved to be correct, I maxed out at 2600 m, but often could not get higher than 2200 m. A 70 km task was set, which would take us from Aspres to Hongrie over St Genis. From there we had to go to Tete de Boursier, Aujour and back to the camping site. When I saw the task, it was the first time I felt I could be able to make it to goal.
While the competition waited for take-off, Anne flew my old skyfloater and climbed his first thermals, just as the day before (see pictures below).
I waited quite a while before I launched because I thought conditions would improve as the day progressed. In 3 steps, I could only reach 2200 m at Aspres and decided I would try to use that to get to Aiguille. It worked out, but just barely, I arrived at the height of north-east facing ridge, not ideal... But I could climb out and was joined by a gaggle. When I left for St. Genis, the gaggle followed me, so may that's where I got my lead point...
I had to search for decent lift at St. Genis for quite a while and then decided to go straight to Hongrie. I arrived low in the foothills and spent 15 minutes just surviving and drifting/climbing towards the top of the hill. That rewarded me with a great climb to 2600 m. Many pilots who already had taken the turnpoint at Hongrie joined me in this thermal. I could now take the turnpoint and return to the same thermal before heading to Tete de Boursier. When I returned, the thermal was way weaker and only took me to 2200 m. Barely enough to make it to Tete de Boursier. Arriving on the foothills again, slowly working my way up. Mart could not get any higher above the ridge and joined me. We climbed to 1600 m and then followed the ridge towards the valley. Richard Lovelace was thermalling there but we couldn't get any higher than 1600 m either. I left for Aujour knowing that I needed to find something in the valley. That didn't happen so I landed minutes later.
15 Minutes later Richard flew by and easily climbed along the Aujour ridge. Flying home from there was easy. If it only went a little higher at Tete de Boursier, I would have made it to goal...
I managed 20th place today (on 47 pilots) and am ranked 22nd in the general classification. Not bad :-)

Dutch Open, Task 1

The first task was flown in very stable conditions. A 70 km task was set and I immediately knew that it was going to be very difficult for me due to the low ceiling. We took off from Chabre and flew towards Col St Jean, to return to Chabre. The next leg was towards Gache and I didn't really know which option to take. Go straight to Gache or go to La Platte first.
I decided for La Platte, but when I saw a glider there (not finding any thermals) I decided to go for Gache anyway. I also hoped that the valley would be active because the thermal activity on the mountains was low. Bad luck, I could not find anything and after 20 kms the game was over. I thought I would be classified really, really low, but currently I'm 25th out of 45. Better than expected. Congratulations to Koos who finished 45 mins ahead of the second pilot.
Today we're going to Aspres. The atmosphere looks less stable, but no way unstable. Let's hope we can manage to do a decent flight...

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Dutch Open Day 3, Task 2

Yesterday's task was cancelled so I didn't miss anything. I'm feeling a lot better today, although not very fresh yet. We will launch from the north take-off today. We'll see...

Monday, August 3, 2009

Dutch Open Day 2, Task 1

Not a very nice day for me. Felt sick and had a fever yesterday evening and woke up with a soar throat today. Feeling very weak. No flying for me today. Everybody just left the camp site to fly the first task starting from the Chabre. I think I'll drive up anyway because I just can't miss the atmosphere.
Here's a visualization of one of the best thermals so far. It took me from 1500 m to 3000 m within 5 minutes. That was spectacular!