Thursday, September 22, 2011

Santa Cruz Flats, days 2, 3 and 4

Well, I guess day 2 and 3 were so demotivating for me, that I didn't bother to write anything about them yet. On day 2, I took the start thermal and 2 minor thermals before gliding to landing. I was very disappointed not to make it to goal 2 days in a row. Not even close by the way.

The result was that by day 3 I was low down in the ranking and as a result had no priority to speak of in the launch lane. Having only 3 tugs working, I knew I had to launch early to have any chance. I prepared early, get in line 10th, but saw everybody else use their priority to launch before me. I was on the same spot for 45 mins and was in line for 1h20. By the time I launched, the first start gate had already gone by. But what was worse, was that the air in the start area had become very inactive. I took a very slow climb to 1500 m, but still had to land after that. The second tow resulted in a very slow climb to 2000 m, which also was the last climb of the day for me. Three miserable days in a row...

Yesterday I launched early again and got in the start gaggle, making slow progress to 2000 m. I launched very early to avoid being stuck again and flew for 1h15 before the start. We had overdevelopment with virga and a visible gust front to the south of us and heading our way. The first thermal after the start was strong and very wide and must have been gust front triggered. It felt good to be flying with the lead gaggle at last, but when they decided to ride the gust front, I didn't feel comfortable doing that and headed out towards the sun. It was clear that the task was going to be canceled and I wanted to be able to pack up the glider before the gust front would hit me. I had an interesting time on the ground, being bitten by ants, watching the gust front get closer and seeing 3 microbursts very close to me. They were small, but they had some power.

Although the day was canceled, it felt good to be competing again. Bring on day 5! We have predictions for lift up to 3700 m...

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