Friday, 8 July 2011
Part of me is delighted because now the Paragliding World Cup will continue the tradition that Frankie Brown spelled out for us today: 'fourteen years of world cup hosting five events a year and one fatality.'. Perhaps the problem lies with the authorities and not the equipment. And yes, perhaps the exclusivity of world cup is appropriate.
On the other hand as long as badge collecting remains a national passtime each batch of wannabe legends such as ourselves will sustain the bloated FAI whale that wallows in the sea of our CIVL subservience feeding on the plankton of our national pride.
See you soon in a thermal nearby from your ever faithful servant and proudly South African national team pilot.
Looking on the bright side…. Uhm… well… ummm… ahhh… uhm! Ok, moving along then: perhaps if we all fly seven hours a day (every day) we really will be safer. Local sales of catheter/condom pee-tube thingies and adult incontinence nappies will spike.
The reality is that we will never fly these elegantly beautiful two line racing machines in FAI competitions ever again and the World Cup will grow in strength and continue as the premier body for high performance paragliding by individuals.
One suggestion that has emerged is to send the FAI delegation home and let Steve Ham run a comp for the World Cup as a memorial to Francisco, Eitel and Xavier.
Thursday, 7 July 2011
Wednesday, 6 July 2011
It was a relatively straight forward down wind dash complicated by an awkwardly positioned exit start gate that had most of the field stuck in no-mans land over the pass with ten minutes to go and no-where to wait in the relentless westerly. The day was further complicated by no-fly zones and height restrictions along the course in the second half. The start put a fair few on the ground and airspace navigation issues will cause tears because around thirty or so pilots who made goal received zeros for their efforts on account of infringements. I imagine there will be fireworks at the team leader briefing this morning with protests, complaints and appeals being the order of the day.
I have to say it is not that much fun trying to stay under 3,000m ASL on a booming day and avoiding little parcels of no-go-zones can be stressful and tedious. It's a real bummer that quality pilots like Torsten Siegel should be out so early.
Other notables who had less than a perfect day include: our viking mate Mads; Jack Brown from US (of Korea worldcup fame); Xevi Bonet who finished 10th in Mexico in his tenth world championship event; Elisa Houdry (defending female champion).
There is alot of flying to be done over the next 12 days so I guess it is too soon to make any predictions.
Launch is hectic with strong wind and human bowling balls dragging through take-off on every second launch attempt.
The leader boards:
Male: Charles Cazaux, Rafal Luckos, Neil Roberts
Female: Petra Silvova, Regula Strasser Strasser, Seiko Naville
Team: FRANCE, UK, USA,
SA team in 14th.