Saturday, May 06, 2006

Japan Nationals final

I decided to put the camera on my glider for the last day of the comp cause it was so clear. This shot is taken just above launch with the first turnpoint being and the end of the mountains to the left of my keel. The last day of the comp brought us some reasonable weather, so they decided on making a long task for the last day. It was decided on a 101kms task I think the largest task ever set there in this area, It in my opinion was a little of a overcall given that today was not as good as previous days. The window opened and a lot of pilots took off but there was a strong inversion about 500 feet above launch. The top pilots all just relaxed and watch the gaggle from launch struggling. about 1 hr before the last start we all decided that we had better get in the air and get into position. I took off and screamed up in 800 up all the way to 6,000 ft and headed out into the valley for the start gate. I slowly lost height waiting around for the start but did the start anyway as I thought the task was going to be impossible. I got low on my first glide and nearly landed watching the other top pilots who started higher clear the ridge and get up. I was not happy so I just decided to stay in the air and grovel untill I decided to have a go. I had climbed like 1,000ft and had drifted almost back to the start so I though this time I will go to the mountains and sure enough I hit a boomer and got back up high just intime to take the last start now 30 mins behind the rest of them. I left hit another good climb and glided into the first turnpoint then decided to go straight line to the 2nd the same way I went on day 2. thi stime it worked for me and as I approached the 2nd turnpoint I was on top of the gaggle with a 30 minute advantage. I left for the 3rd turnpoint and glided all the way there hitting nothing but sink, so I rounded the turnpoint and headed for the 4th some 30kms away. Diamond san and I got a little low before finding some weak lift and drifting in it untill the others about 30 of them joined us. He pushed on low and i just hung back and watched as he got lower and lower. He pulls out a low save and soon he is back on top of me as we cross over town still heading for the 4th turn point. I went a slightly different way as we had to cross over a mountain with very little landings around it, I went in deep and was rewarded with a good climb all the way to base the first cloud I had seen since I left launch. Itagaki and I were now in front as we round the 4th I decided to head straight back to the mountains instead of going straight line to the last turn point. The others went straight line down the valley and got a lot better glide and left me behind. This next part was going to be difficult heading into a headwind trying to follow a ridge with very little landings. Diamond was just behind me and lower as we approach the no landing area, he aborts commiting to going over the ridge as it seems like a long glide out but I keep going hoping to get some lift a long the way. I can see the others now landing at the base of the mountain in front of me. I hit a little bit of lift but I was drifting more than I was gaining so I pulled the vg on and tucked my arms in and pointed my toes in hopes that I would make it out to where the others had landed. I hit some good air and managed to make it to a sunny spur which hosted a 200 up. I drifted in this for a while then I hit the leighside and it kicked and I got back up high above the others who had just landed below me. I was now the last one in the air and I still had a 15kms headwind glide to the last turn point which was going to be nearly impossible to get back up once I left the mountain. I had a nice long smoothe glide and did not hit a beep I thought that if I could get the turn point and make it back to goal I still might have a chance at winning the comp. Well 10 minutes later I was standing on the ground 1 km from the last turn point. Now I had to try and find a phone and get someone to come and get me in my far from perfect Japanese. As soon as I got out of my harness a car pulls up and a guy jumps out and starts speaking Japanese to me,ummmm I told him that I dont really speak japanese but I could tell he was interested in what i was doing there. So I kindly asked him for the use of his phone so that I could make a call, he was more than willing and soon there would be someone on their way to get me.The guy left and then returned 5 minutes later with clod drinks and snacks for me while I was waiting for retrieve. I eventually packed my glider up and was laying there waiting for my retrieve when the same man pull sup again this time with his wife in the car, she had wanted to come down and meet this strange boy that had flown into their field. He made another call for me to see how far away the retrieve was and they were just around the corner aso he gave them directions. It was so nice being so well looked after having quite a few unhappy landowners whilst flying in the Florida comps. I won the day flying 15kms futher than anyone else receiving 900 points not enough spread for me to move up to far. I will end up 9th overall with only 200 points separating me from first.