Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Chelan - World cup

Day two
120km triangle. 3500m base with 8m/s thermals. Russel and I were with the lead gaggle that scored the first big climb that split the field at the 50km mark. The lead changed several times until the last leg where the lottery was in force. Josh took it from Russel Ogden by a few minutes. Russel in 8th Andre in 10th. Team SA lying second under the banner 'JPA' which is a world cup sponsor which we renamed 'Jungle Para Africa' (from the original 'Japan Para Assoc').
So both Russel and Andre are top ten after two days.
Theuns had the following to say about yesterday's task after surviving cravats and other interesting SIV creatures: 'daai een het mooi tieties... ach ek ek meen oogies'.

World cup - Chelan

The world cup circus is in town! The morning looked like it was totally blown out. We were watching the kite-boarding wondering if we could hire a sailboat for the day on the lake.
In the end we flew the fast and furious 94km task in just under two hours and five thermals. Russel and I were in with the lead group with Theuns in a while later. A fair start to the comp for the Sud Afrique contingent. No word from Chrissi yet.

Friday, 16 July 2010

US Nationals - Chelan Final Day

The final day dawned with many pilots feeling the effects of the epic triangle the day before. Some flew for more than six hours and many were recovered late (around 10pm).

Clear skies and the sight of dust devils kicking off in the distance early on made for high expectations of a great task.

A 60 km cross-down leg race was set, but the BIG problem was getting across the valley to the start. It was mayhem! Two thirds landed at minimum distance and the remaining few at goal. I managed to get in an hour after the leaders which would have spelt disaster for my podium hopes had it not been for the low validation. In the end Russel Ogden won convincingly from Jack Brown. Another 1-2-3 for Ozone as the dominance continues.

A good result all round for the South Africans with Chrissi finishing 3rd in the women, Marinus 3rd in the serial, yours truly 3rd in the Open Class and the honorary American camping with us 2nd in the serial class.

Two days rest and then some serious racing in the world cup….

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

US Nationals - Chelan Task 4

Another awesome day! Less wind gave us the opportunity to do a 104km triangle. With a lower base and variable local winds, it took a couple of gritty climbs in a dust devil or two to get to goal on time. All the same faces at goal with one exception in Josh who landed short.

US nationals Chelan

Day three - the day dawned frigid and breezy, before settling down with cu's popping horizon to horizon. They managed to set a 104km task despite the day looking like a 'hundred miler'. It would appear that people are concerned about the cost of recovery which blows my mind given that we had a rest day yesterday and the next few days should be suitable for triangles. Whatever the case, we lost the opportunity and subsequently creamed the course in just a couple of hours. Close to 50km/hr which should give you some idea of the epic conditions. All the usual suspects in goal first. I had a stressful day taking the start late and low on account of a launch line-over delay. Had to give it all to eventually catch the leaders at the 70km mark. Me thinks the lead-out points will hurt a little. All in all a freezing cold but great day's flying albeit tainted by the goal crash of a US pilot who took a pendulum and slammed in from 20m after a collapse of sorts. This was the same pilot who arrived short of goal under reserve on the first day. I suspect 30 or more made it in.

Monday, 12 July 2010

Chelan USA - US Nationals

So we got onto this big-ass airplane called an A380 which takes hours to load because there were almost 800 passengers. I am not sure how the thing actually gets airborne, but it did and then we were offered Poullet or Bouef which is somehow tastier than the Chicken or Beef option on other airlines. I guess it had something to do with the french accent and flashing false eye-lashes.
I was wondering how you get this 600 ton monster back on the ground when the pilot attempted to destroy the runway by arriving a little too hot. I happened to be watching my half of the 80m wing thinking "that's fast" and felt the desperate pull back and subsequent impact with the wing-tips flexing at least ten meters virtually scraping the runway. Even the french crew were showing huge white eyeballs which told me this was not normal operating procedure.
After visiting the local Wall-Mart for tents, camp cots, camp chairs and goose down pillows at bargain prices, we settled into the (strict) campsite next to lake Chelan with it's perfectly manicured lawns. We fell like squatters with our tiny little tents among the towering RV city. I have never seen such huge camping vehicles!
Practice Day
Any body interested in 6 up thermals marked by dusties and a 4000m cloudbase? Bring it on!!
What lovely introduction to flying in the US: A whole bunch of friendly twangy english speaking pilots and superb conditions for paragliding.
First Day - First Task
An 89km dog-leg-down-wind dash was set to the ENE. Fast, Fast, Fast with an average of 46km/h for our gaggle leading into goal in 1hr45mins. This task was a crowd pleaser if ever I saw one which was a good thing because:
Task 2 - was not a sensible affair with a similar 75km dog-leg with an extra double-back sting in the tail at the end which meant flying the last 12km into wind... sadly the wind was fierce in the 40km/h variety and it took an eight meter per second climb spawned by a whirly convention in a dusty wheat field to get three of us to cloudbase. With a glide of 2.4 required to make goal, we barely made it in flying at full speed barely making 15km/h ground speed. The task scored better than expected with Josh Cohn four points ahead of me with Jack Brown in about ten minutes later. Russel Ogden would have felt robbed as he had almost an hour on the rest of us but came up less than 1km short. I think this will place Josh, Russel, Jack and I close up in front with a small cushion over the rest of the field.
Today is blown-out and the tomorrow may be the same.

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Chelan USA

Here we come America! Off to the states for the US nationals and World Cup back2back.