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 :-)

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