Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Monarca Open Jan 8

Jan 8 tracklog.

The day started off cloudy, which I wasn't initially concerned about since in the past, cloudy starts to the day have often resulted in the best afternoon flying as the clouds break.  But not today!  It stayed cloudy for most of the day, with low cloudbase, wind, and threatening rain by the end.

Task 2
Today's task was back and forth across the Mesa, about 75 km optimized distance.  On paper it looked good, but the weather conditions conspired against us!  It all started out with generally overcast conditions and very hard to get up to cloudbase, with many good pilots landing in the Piano even before the race start.

I was almost one of them...I tried to hang out at Espina but it was actually rotoring over the cliffs with lots of leeside cloud *below* the cliffs, and I had to run back to the Penon twice to tank back up and try again.  Third time was the charm as I was finally able to get high enough to actually start the task 30 minutes late.

Pilots were scattered all over the place, as many pilots had already dirted all along the courseline in the windy and overcast conditions.  Fortunately I had a lot of bird action to help me out and I was able to climb out from windy and nasty places multiple times thanks to them.

After a brief window of blue-ish skies, the skies redeveloped over the Mesa and it looked like it was shutting down.  So I made the decision to make distance and jumped over the back, just to basically get towards the Monarca turnpoint before it totally shut down.  Had my first IP6 cravatte which I worked out no problem, once again increasing my confidence in this glider!

In the end I landed near the turnpoint and a short walk out to the highway, where I learned that the lead gaggle had dirted on the way back from the same turnpoint, scattered around Jovans or Serro Gordo.  So nobody made goal, and I think I did pretty OK relative to the lead gaggle.

Today was a weird day...there was really smooth air, and really rough air...sometimes within seconds of each other!  Cloudbase was really low all day and it seemed impossible to do some of what we ended up doing, like leaving the Wall from so low, flying in wind for so long, and successfully climbing out from down low.  But if you throw enough pilots at a problem, somebody will solve it!

One tree-landing near launch, pilot is OK; and one non-flying accident by a pilot falling off a truck at HQ this morning.  He is resting in Mexico City hospital and will be flown back to Canada shortly.

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