By now, everybody knows that we had the greatest time in Australia. And Gijs captured that feeling in his movie about Forbes 2015:
Thursday, January 8, 2015
We had a great day out today. A 115 km task was set and the thunderstorms allowed us to complete the task. There was only one big one 30 km N of goal, but we never got into trouble.
I raced for dear life today and overcooked it near the first turnpoint. First there, but low. Spent 15 minutes getting some decent altitude again, and by that time, others had gone past me at altitude. From there, I had a pretty good run into goal, sharing the last thermal with Trent. And since we were ex-aequo in the standings, final glide was going to be the decider for us. I watched Trent's glide and diverted of course line, to get into a 4 m/s thermal 5 km before goal. That decided it for us. Always great to fly with Trent. Good memories of Monte Cucco 2009!
I think I was 4th or 5th into goal and I'm probably going to move up to 4th or 5th overall. A nice result to a very nice comp. 27 hours of airtime (incl. practice day). Not bad! All tasks into goal and a bit slow on task 1 and the first half of the long 255 km task. Forbes delivered!
Wednesday, January 7, 2015
Task 4 was a 255 km task to Gunbar (50 km short of Hay). There wasn't much wind and I lost a lot of time being low early in the task. Made it to goal together with 28 others which is definitely a strong performance for the group. Lots of people with personal bests. I was slow though and dropped to 8th overall.
Yesterday's task was a 150 km race to the South, but it was stopped due to thunderstorms. I had been charging out front all the time but slowed down when we got close to the storms, because I wanted to know if the task would be stopped and because I reached a point where I thought I couldn't go any further without safe escape route. Everybody got together in a big gaggle, which is reflected in the scores. Some flew into the dark sky and got some more points. It is my feeling that the race should have been stopped a bit earlier, because the scores would have been consistent with the true racing positions before things got unsafe.
Monday, January 5, 2015
Sunday, January 4, 2015
Task 3 brought us the fastest air I've ever flown. 30-40 km/h winds with 4-5 m/s thermals ensured the 192 km task was undercalled. Johnny made goal in 2,5 hours (75 km/h average), I arrived 5 minutes later in 14th place, resulting in 5th overall.
The faces in goal were all smiles. It had been an intense race. And the ground passed by at 150 km/h on final glide. Not many of us have the chance to ever experience this. This flight alone already made the trip down under worthwhile. Here's Gijs who enjoyed it very much as well :-)
Lots of us were taking pictures of the sky. As Jonny always says it: "How good is Forbes?" Even Gordon was putting up a smile ;-)
The flight had started with a bad surprise for me, though. I must have attached the towing bridle to my harness instead of attaching it to the release (which was still stowed away in the harness pocket from the previous flight). As a result, I was unable to release when Bobby waived me off. After a while, Bobby realised this and pulled in and up to get the line slack, which allowed me to break the weaklink. Always double check...
Friday, January 2, 2015
The task committee couldn't have created a better task yesterday. RASP predicted thunderstorms in our area and our task slalomed 50 km through the Cu-Nimbs (thunderstorms clouds) into the most perfect soaring skies for the last 100 km.
The race went very well for me, charging ahead all the time, often seeing Zippy bank it sharply right in the spot where I was gliding to. Zippy is impossible to see on glide, his almost full technora wing disappears in the background of the landscape whenever he's gliding. We sometimes took different lines, but always ended up together. I had a slight advantage heading to our last thermal, but Zippy hit that one better and I had too much confidence that my core was going to get better. Well it didn't and Zippy glided out first and even managed to get a 3 minute advantage into goal. Seems that my line definitely wasn't the best. I left with a conservative 8 to 1 glide but had to fear I wasn't going to make it for a long time. Congrats to Zac!
The goal field was interesting though. Zippy probably stirred up the air and I hit a 3 m/s thermal when crossing the line. I took it for a while because I didn't want to land in that air. Zippy also was indicating that the winds were switching on the ground. Anyway, I should have waited longer, since the air wasn't calm at all when landing and I dropped a wing, which resulted in a hard landing. Luckily my Adidas Evil Eyes survived the intimate contact with the front wire.
Good performance by Dutch pilot Gijs as well, who's in 11th overall at this time. On the way back from the goal field, we hit a massive gust front. Apparently Sasha had to outrun it when coming to goal and she landed 25 km away.
Thursday, January 1, 2015
The first task was 130 km 'hook' task (70 km downwind, 45 cross and 15 upwind). My launch was quite rough, hitting a thermal at 100 m above the ground, which forced me to release from the tug. But it was good enough to thermal up to 2500 m above the paddock.
Quite a few of us took the 2nd start, forming 2 major gaggles. After 60 km, whilst being in the lead, I overcooked it a little and got low. It took me a long while to recover from that because I chose to head upwind, which was over descending terrain. Not an ideal choice, so I lost almost half an hour on the second leg. 19th in the first task. At least I was at goal.
The 2015 Forbes flatlands comp is about to start. We have a 130 km task to start with. Cumi's are predicted, so that should make everybody happy :-)
The last two days we had some good practice flying. The day before yesterday was spent using tuning the glider and yesterday we had a nice practice task. 6 Hours flying in the past two days was the ideal warm up for today.
And before I forget it: Happy New Year from down under!