19 August 2009

British Open at St. Jean, Task 3

Aided by yet another good looking forecast the task committee of the British Open planned an interesting course for day 3. The 70 km route would take us out in the valley for the start and first turnpoint, then south along the mountain, back out into the valley a bit before crossing the lake to the Morgan. From there we had to take the peninsula in the lake and then return to a final turnpoint in the valley just south of the goal field.

The air was quite stable, and hence the thermals over the mountains were fierce. I saw Benoit cravette; it seemed worse than I'd experienced yesterday but in the end he managed to clear it and continue, actually made it into goal. A few pilots reported strong conditions over the radio.

It was the last part of the task that proved tricky, coming back from the peninsula one had to find some lift fairly quickly. I took a more or less straight line to the lower hills in the valley where I'd seen some pilots climb up, albeit slowly. Alas, when I arrived there I couldn't find anything and soon was on the ground, after 53 km (see track). Some 10 minutes later a group of 7 or so arrived and got up right over me. Some of those, and several others, dived for St. Vincent and soared there for a long time hoping to get up again. I think only one pilot of that group managed to get out of there (Pat Dower). Yet others flew back to the Morgan and typically got up there but then had to fight quite a bit of headwind on the way back.

In the end Luc Armand again won the day, and again very fast in 1:47 for an average speed of 35 km/h. And as in the other the days the french were heavenly represented in the top 15 of the results.

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