Saturday, July 23, 2011

2011 Worlds, Day 4, Task 1

Yesterday, we had our first task. Due to the high winds, the organization decided to launch from Monte Subasio, above Assisi, which is a 1 hour drive from Monte Cucco. The launch site is huge and there was no problem at all setting up 150 gliders. The sky looked nice, but is was evident that there was a lot of wind.
We got a 120 km task up and down and a bit into the valley of Assisi. We launched and just before the first start gate, almost 150 gliders joined in a single thermal. I've never seen that much traffic. My position was good and I wanted to go early, so I took the first start gate, as did about 100 others I think. It was a fight against the wind and I got a little behind the leaders, almost catching them at the first start point.
But I also had to manage my GPS problems. I had forgotten to enter the first turnpoint twice (once for the start gate and once for the actual turnpoint) and only had the 'optimized distance' in the user fields. So, once I canceled the route, to start a GOTO to the turnpoint, I didn't have a distance because 'Dist to WP' was not on the display and you don't seem to be able to change the user fields in flight... So I went a bit further than others did, to make sure I got the turnpoint... Many also landed at the first turnpoint.
I got a good run back to the start and at 70 km into the task I was back with the leaders. Now, the struggle into the 35 km/h headwind to the turnpoint in the valley started. At first, I was blown backwards in lighter thermals in the shade. Only after a while I got a 2 m/s and I started making progress again. I ended up 200 m below Manfred about 3,5 km before the turnpoint. We flew into a thermal and I saw Manfred go up, but only had 0,5-1 m/s myself. Not enough for a 35 km/h wind. So I pushed for the turnpoint, being quite sure that that was going to be a thermal trigger. Against my expectations, I could not reach it, because we approached it from the lee side and the glide wasn't good enough for that. I had to land and saw many gliders come over...
I'm 33rd in the results which is better than I expected when I saw everybody fly over. But I should have done better. Losing a very possible 10th-15th place 2/3rds into the task is not a nice feeling.

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