Saturday, July 23, 2011

World Championships Day 4

With another windy forecast they decided to send us to another takeoff where the wind would be less in Asissi. It was quite a drive and many of us got lost getting there but once we arrived it was gorgeous.

The wind was not so strong and the launch was huge with plenty of room to setup the 150 gliders. We set a task which would keep us in the valley with big landings as the wind was forecast to get stronger as the day went on.

It was quite a mess on launch trying to get off but eventually all pilots launched safely and were ready for the challenging 121km task. I was not in a great position at the first start gate so I decided to wait for the 2nd start 20 mins later.

I had a great start with Carl, Balazs and quite a few others. There must have been about 100 pilots who took the first start so there were plenty of markers out there in front of us. I had a fast run to the turn point and was only 8km behind the lead gaggle at the turn point.

After the first turn point we had to fly back down the ridge to launch. When I arrived there the lead gaggle was just leaving on the way to the third turn point. This was the hardest part of the task as we had to leave the ridge and fly into the valley into the strong wind with lots of shadow on the ground.

I had almost caught the front guys and was only a few kms behind but lower. Manfred came in above me and all of a sudden I thought wow life is good I have 20 mins on him and everyone else around me.

We glided 8kms to the 3rd turn point arriving somewhat low and then turned tailwind for the hills to get back up. I hit a low save about 800ft off the ground with a few other gliders. The guys that were following us a bit lower all landed so we just drifted in the wind to stay in the air.

I spotted Manfred he had managed to glide more to our right very low and hit a strong climb but I was unable to reach him as I was lower. As I drift in the wind I see many pilots all landing behind me. It turns out that 60 pilots landed just after the 3rd turn point so it was not an easy part of the course.

I spent the next hour trying to battle the 35 kph+ cross-headwind low trying to reach the last turn point which was 10 kms away. I struggled but eventually made it from ridge to ridge fighting the wind. I soared up to get the last turn point as it was on top of the ridge and climbed high enough to make final glide.

I finished just behind Blenky and will place 16th for the day and will be the only one to make goal from the 2nd start gate. Primoz won the day about 5 mins ahead of Alex with Gerd from Germany in 3rd. 22 pilots made goal with many top pilots already landing out taking them out of the comp.

I did not have the best day but I made goal and only lost 150 points to the winner so I am still in the game.