Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Italian Nationals, Task 1

The 2016 Italian Nationals are held in Sigillo, in Umbria, central Italy. Sigillo lies at the foothills of Monte Cucco, a special place in hang gliding because of the top landing options and the well known laminar conditions in SW winds, which allow for dune gooning on a 1500 m mountain.

However, we are currently in a rather strong NE flow and yesterdays task was launched from Tre Pizzi. What looked like an easy 80 km ridge run, turned into a tough battle due to rather weak thermal conditions and little ridge lift because the wind was too cross. Even before launching I had made the decision to take the last (second) start gate because it looked like conditions were going to improve during the day. This didn't really happen and overall, glides were surprisingly bad. After 60 km, I had caught up with most pilots from the first start gate (only Marco and Balasz were far ahead) and needed a last thermal to make it to goal. The idea was to leave the ridge which wasn't working anyway and fly it through the valley. However, I spotted Suan climbing in the direction of the ridge and joined him. It only went up 1 m/s and I decided to race on, aborting the plans to go through the valley. Big mistake. I only encountered strong sink and waited too long to head for the valley after all. 12 km short...

If only I would have been more patient and climbed out with Suan. Suan made goal and was 3rd. Here are the results for task 1.

The day wasn't without surprises. European and World champion Christian Ciech landed after 53 km. Only 5 pilots reached goal and the average distance per pilot is less than 40 km. As a result, the day is devalued and worth only 640 points. So I only lose 200 points for not making goal. A bit lucky there.

The scores will still needed to be corrected though, since it looks like the 2 rigid pilots in goal have also been counted in the flex results. So, probably, the day gets devalued even a bit more.

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