12 August 2009

...and back, almost

After yesterday's trip to St. Vincent it was time to attempt the out and return flight. Today people launched a bit later, we actually moved to the west launch. The air was much more humid and cumulus formed early on. Except at cloudbase winds were south-westerly today, with the help of clouds and wind I dared to take a shorter route and made it to St. Vincent in just over 2 hours, almost one hour faster now.

I immediately started the return trip to St. André. Initially I could simply follow the clouds with occasionally thermals being marked by the numerous sailplanes and the odd glider. South of the Dourmillouise massif the southwest flow was strong and progress slowed down. At the last valley crossing I bombed out, some 14 km short of the goal (see track). The reason was probably that I earlier should have followed the Montagne de Chevel Blanche westerly ridge, instead of trying to go straight over. I also could, and should, have waited for company. Flying with a group always works much better once things get difficult.

It seemed that two italian pilots with competition gliders made it all the way back, as well as at least one (french?) hang glider pilot. Well done!

Tomorrow it's time for an easy day, probably at St. Jean, the venue for the British Open next week.

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