Yesterday (well, saturday that was) we had the second task of the German Open. The weather conditions were difficult again. A lot of clouds and a lot of shade, especially in the mountains.
The task committee decided on a short 47 km task heading out into the flats with a return to the alpine border. Cloudbase was about 200 meters above the mountain top when I launched. The conditions were really weak and we were all thermalling very close to each other, but it was really nice and safe due to the mellow conditions. With my rather large 14 m2 wing, I managed to climb to the top of the gaggle. It really felt good :-)
However, as I was on top and reached cloudbase, I had to make a decision. Head out and start the task, or wait and see what the others do. I decided to head out to reach the more sunny flatlands as soon as possible. I started gliding and noticed that no-one followed me. Ok, let's just try it. I picked a hill as the most likely thermal source and indeed there was something when I arrived there. But not much. I was trapped there for 45 minutes, before I slowly got higher again.
When I reached 1300 m, which is 700 m above ground, I decided to look for the next thermal. 2 kms further, above the autobahn, I found a nice 1,5 m/s second thermal which I left early in an attempt to outrun the increasing cloud cover. It was a mistake, I should have taken it 300 m higher and I found myself on the ground a few minutes later.
However, it wasn't a bad idea to leave early, because half of the pilot's didn't even make minimum distance. On the other hand, my 17th place only gave me 137 pts compared to the 111 for minimum distance or less.
The end result is that with a 21st and a 17th position during the tasks, I found myself in 23rd position overall. That puts me just in the top half (46 participating pilots) and I do not feel bad about that.
More important is that I felt very good after the flight. The fixed harness gives me a much better flying position and I felt a lot better what the Combat was doing. I also thermalled a lot slower and thus tighter. Looking forward to the next flights!