05 March 2010

Finnish mid-winter thermal right above the frozen sea

Today was on the ice at Karhusaari, together with co-instructors Rami and Mika, hoping to teach our eager students. And to try out the new pay-out winch of our club. The sky was clear and sunny but it was quite windy and above all gusty. Also although the thick layer of snow was compressed during the last week into a nice hard layer it now harbored a thick layer of soft slush under it. So conditions for teaching were marginal at best.

But we really wanted to try that winch so we decided to tow me up. Initially it was difficult to inflate the wing and keep it nicely above the ice-road as the wind also turned out to be very twisty, but eventually I managed to make a good start. The winch worked very well indeed and within a few minutes a was some 350m above the beautiful winter archipelago landscape. After I released the little kite on the winch line opened quite well and started to fly and was nicely pulled down by the, now reversing, winch.
I meanwhile pressed the bar to glide upwind to what seemed a thermal possibility. And indeed I was rewarded by an unexpectedly good thermal, that took me up at some 2 m/s, which peaks of 3 m/s. The string wind made me drift quickly back towards Estonia, so quite soon had to leave the thermal that by now had formed a nice little cumulus cloud high above me.
In any case the first thermal of the 2010 season for me in Finland; and it's only early March! I uploaded the short flight to the XContest as it is funny to have a flight above the sea in there; Google Earth doesn't show the ice we have in the winter!

No comments: