20 August 2009

British Open at St. Jean, Day 5

Unfortunately we had another day cancelled. This time the conditions on launch were quite strong already when the first pilots arrived; the chairlift here is comfortable but a bit slow, taking some 25 minutes. The forecast was excellent with light southerly winds, good thermals and a high base. The winds however, obviously were quite a bit stronger. A task was set but around briefing time local pilots were seen flying backwards right in the valley in front of launch.

Meanwhile Ozone's David Dagault was reported to have launched from Col de Bleyne for a record long flight attempt, and he blasted right over us a bit after noon. By then he had covered 80 km and was very high going straight North.

Little later Benôit Muriel, from the Gréolières club, agreed with the Meet Director to act as a proper wind dummy and took off. He needed quite some time to get up in the broken thermals and windy conditions. But then he slowly managed to get south, and higher. The task was postponed in the hope of slightly more moderate winds later in the day.
When an hour or so later Benoit reported 10km/h winds at altitude a new task was set and at 15:30 the start window was finally opened. But after only two pilots had launched it was closed again as the conditions at launch were very strong again. Moreover clouds in the valley started to look dangerously large. Some 15 minutes later the task was cancelled. Like most pilots I launched and flew half an hour and then landed just before it started to rain. Still 20 minutes later, I'd gone for a run, it really started to pour, accompanied by strong gusts.

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