Thursday, July 25, 2019

Pemberton Canadian Nationals July 25

We had high hopes for today and had planned a long task which would end us at the Rodeo ground in Mount Currie, but the weather gods had other plans!

Guy and some of the volunteers!
Initially it looked like the cloud would burn off, and Canada RASP was predicting the same.  And it did start to break open, but the wind technicians we sent out to test the air reported very little lift, so we continued to wait.  And then the cloud reformed and it went from kinda-sunny to mostly cloudy.

We had a meteorologist on launch today, and he was explaining that the clouds were indeed dissipating as they dropped off the east side of Vancouver Island, forming a blue hole visible on the satellite images, but they were reforming on the upwind side of Howe Sound and creating the schmoo we were seeing.  South of Squamish it was beautiful (and Alex and James were indeed having an epic flight at Tunnel Mountain near Lions Bay, Alex landed in Coquitlam next to the Skytrain station, very civilized!), but north of Squamish it was cloudy, and not expected to dissipate until late in the afternoon.

This is the final version after 2 longer tasks were ultimately rejected due to deteriorating weather conditions.
Because of safety limitations in a comp, we can only push the task so far into the afternoon before we have to decide on a "go, no-go" time, so if there is an accident or incident, we have enough daylight to deal with it, but with the shortening of the task, we decided to push things to the last minute (in this case, 3:30pm) in the hopes of getting a task of some sort in.  We ultimately shortened it to a 45 km back-n-forth along the Owl ridge with a goal in Pemberton (no Whistler Express was forecast, and in fact free-flyers were reporting NW wind there instead).  And also due to the weather and the fact it was going to be tricky to get the timing of the task right, we opted for an elapsed time start, rather than a traditional race start, to give pilots the chance to decide when they thought would be the best time to get on course line.

There was a patch of sun approaching so a bunch of us decided to take advantage of it and launched and got barely to 1900m, and then we started working our way west.  Behind us the patch of sun had disappeared to be replace by yet more overcast, and the late launchers were basically on glide from launch.  We were able to keep up with the patch of sun to Fraser Peak, where it fizzled for pretty much everyone, and then everyone left in the air was scratching around on Owl Peak, fighting for every meter of altitude before pushing out into the valley to tag the CamelHump TP and then turning around to get some distance to the next turn point.

What we had to work with in the end!  Notice the rain up by North Creek.
I was able to get the CamelHump TP no problem, and then it was a giant glide for me to see how far I could get to the second TP before having to bail to a safe LZ.  There were pilots ahead of me going for the mondo-glide, and they were going to end up in Riverlands, which is a big no-no.  With 2.5km to go to the next TP, I decided to bail and turn around to the safety of the Miller Beer Farm, since I didn't want to be "that person" that gets the comp in trouble for overflying Riverlands low and landing in the parts of their property strictly off-limits to paraglider pilots.

The Beer Farm was hopping with pilots, and it ended up turning into the unofficial goal field with pilots hanging out to have a beer before getting shuttled back to HQ and scoring.  I believe the most distance today was something like 28km (out of 45) and I was around the 18km mark.  The day will probably not be worth much, points-wise, but at least we flew!

My track log from today.

Today's results and overall results.






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