Well the weather co-operated in that it opened up for us, but it was really windy. Direction is now NW which means a task to Donato's was called, via Wellington upwind first, and then Cemetary on the way back downwind.
It started off quite shady with lots of clouds, but still stay-upable so I launched in the middle of the queue. Not difficult to get up and I found myself near cloudbase as the start approached. Then I see an Icepeak 3 in a full-stall. Not sure what precipitated the FS (turns out it was a frontal) but Eric stayed in it for a good 7-8 seconds. It never restarted despite him trying all that time. Finally he tossed his reserve and came down just SW of the tower to the west of launch, about 100' from the road. He reported coming down softly and safely, and Mike soon retrieved him.
I was busy watching this and making sure he was coming down OK for Mike to find him (I didn't know Nick was also doing this, right above me so I couldn't see him also sticking around) so I missed the start. After Eric settled down on the ground I looked around to find that almost everyone else had started across the valley to Rabies for the start, and I was left behind. And of course during the whole episode I was in sink, so I was now no longer at cloudbase and in no position to do the crossing.
So I sucked it up and tried to get high so I could cross to Rabies, but I never got high again. I spent about 45 minutes post-start at launch trying to get high enough for the crossing, watching everyone else on the other side, but no luck. And the wind had picked up big-time too. It was hard to penetrate to the west. I eventually decided the mountain wasn't working anymore and flew out to the valley, where it was pretty buoyant and I found myself higher than I expected, which enabled me to finally get across to Rabies.
But over there it was the typically leeside sh*t and I wasn't quite high enough to get to the windward side, and in disgust I decided to land at the Hunter LZ. Of course that wasn't enough...I landed during a particulary gusty cycle going backwards, and of course got dragged as I touched down, leaving a 30' long drag-skid mark in the cow-dust.
Turns out most of the people who had made it across, didn't do much better. It was so windy up high that they were all parked headed for Wellington, and many people ended up landing out somewhere in China Gulch etc. not going forward very fast. In the end, only 1 person (Hayden) made goal, and only 5-6 others making it past minimum distance. So for all that, Hayden got a whopping 160-ish points, while those of us who landed within 5 km got 60 points!
Anyways, it was a really windy day and not a particulary nice flight for me. Sucky start and sucky landing. Tomorrow is the last day and the weather is supposed to be nicer. And of course I think all next week is supposed to be waaay nicer than this past week has been...typical!