22 August 2009

British Open at St. Jean, Task 5

Despite forecasts of strong winds (explained by Tom Payne, picture) the British Open at St.Jean was finished in style. The winds appeared to be managable, but due to rather stable air a short task of 41.2 km was set. In addition we launched a bit later than earlier in the week. Around the start time cloudbase was just above 3000m. Most pilots tried of course to be at the altitude right at the entry of the start cylinder but most were a bit below that. All raced towards the first turnpoint, north of the landing field and then quickly turned back towards the ridge and launch area. A couple of pilots, led by I think Craig Morgan and including myself, decided to "attack" and bravely raced towards the next turnpoint over La Seyne. This was risky as we would arrive there rather low. I myself thought that with north-west winds we had a chance of finding convergence on the way. In addition I did see sailplanes circling in the neighbourhood of the turnpoint. After taking the turnpoint the two leaders immediately went north towards, trying to fly over the ridge that borders the village. I myself was very low over this ridge and made a crucial mistake when I thought to have entered a thermal, turned, and only went down 20 meters. A hundred meter ahead made the same mistake, and then could no longer fly around to the north-west facing end of the ridge, which borders a large valley (see track). The two leaders and one Ozone pilot that had followed me did make it there and caught a thermal near the "castle" and then could finish the task, presumably rather quickly (the provisional score shows Craig coming in third at 1:08:54, exactly one minute after the provisional winner, Bayon). A couple of hours later several pilots are still enjoying the excellent evening conditions.
In an hour so the results should be clear and the prize giving ceremonies can start....

few more pictures

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