The General finally made an appearance after an epic retrieve from Boonville.
... and so, after a massively bungled start, the lesson is: Don't believe you can zero at the start perimeter with two minutes to go when everyone else goes back 1 km into wind for the climb. The result is a sub optimal start (he means a complete cluster). However, this allows one to climb unhindered at ones leisure observing the entire field plummeting into the stable sea air. What goes around, comes around as is said, and within ten minutes of being the lowest and slowest, I could fly over the entire field to the front (low in the stable sea breeze too). Hah! So much for being in the front, which now comprised ten pilots on the tiniest of ridges trying not to kick the cows.
It was fun ridge soaring. after an hour or so, we could dribble over the back onto the steep rainforest and the bigger hills. I have had worse times in my life, but that generally involved surgery. Couldn't get goal in the howling wind though, and disappointed to be in the top 20 and not get any points due to lack of validation.