30 Oktober 2014

Day 6: 90km around 2 tp, goal Boonah airstrip

Just a quick write-up as I need to go to the next briefing soon. We had less wind than the day before, so we went up really early to Beechmont take off, Jonny Durand´s home. It is not much height difference, and in conditions like yesterday, it is easy to bomb out, so I was really happy that I could launch into a nice thermal and get up above the hill straight away.
With some of the best pilots I took the 3rd startgate at 12, coming from a great, strong thermal. It went up to about 2000m yesterday, so it was a mere luxury to sail over the beautiful hills and valleys. The most scenic part was when we glided along Mount Barney - huge cliff faces, lush rain forest, a lake, a huge flock of parrots starting into the air, it was just unreal! But we had to concentrate, the last leg wasn´t easy and grounded quite a few of the top ranking guys.
I was lucky and caught a nice, last thermal that took me safely into goal. Over the airfield of course, like always, it was impossible to get down. I wish I could have sent all that lift to my team mate Rohan, as he had to land only 2km short of goal. Nils luckily made it in. We were about 11 in goal, with Blinky winning the day.

29 Oktober 2014

Day 5: 70km to Lake Moogerah

The weather forecast looked much nicer for today, and it turned out to be a good Beechmont day. Finally we got to fly with a few clouds here and there, some convergence and also "real thermals" - it´s just so pleasant if you can fly a full 360 in climb! All the way up to 2000m, it was such a luxury :)
We first went to Boonah, then to lake Moogerah another 16km west of the first turnpoint. I flew most of the way with my team mate Nils today, and we were happy to join the party at goal. Also RT and Dr Craig arrived, so our driver Alan was quite pleased to see all of us there. The other highlight for me was a flock of about 50 pelicans. I went to take a photo, and they started to swim on the lake in a line that was about 100 m long. Beautiful birds! Lucky that my team is so understanding for their "tourist´s" requests to stop for Australian wildlife.
Trent won the day and moved right up into the top ten. About half of the pilots of the comp made goal, which was in a really scenic place.
On the way home we were re-writing some songs and practicing to perfom them, because in the evening, we had the "Red Faces Night", a fun competition where all the teams invent some acts to embarrass themselves (or others too). After the pilot´s dinner, the show was shorter than normal, as Thursday looks like another really good flying day with a very early start.

28 Oktober 2014

Day 4: 70km around 2 tp

We went to Beechmont launch today, but it turned out to be a very stable day with quite a strong northerly which made the eastern site quite tough to fly. I was not the only one who experienced very strong turbulence in several places.
With only 800m of altitude I was nowhere near high enough to fly over the back and start on course, as there were plenty of non landable valleys with strong winds and turbulence. So I decided to look at the small things that make me happy - flying with my buddies Nils and Tim for a long soaring time for example. Or that great batman cloud above take off! Quite unique, that shape. Or a good landing in the bombout with a bit more than just a cross wind to cope with - plenty of cows and their calves did not take notice of me at all when I was on final... Or even better, hearing that all my team mates managed to land fine, even in dodgy spots.
Highlight of the day for me were the cutest wallabies Ive ever seen. Luckily my team, all Australians, were understanding and stopped for the squeeking tourist in the car ;) 
I really hope we get some fresh air soon, would be great to fly with cumulus clouds at least one of these days.
A few guys made it into the Kerry valley, Jonny said he got to Laravale, the first turnpoint, but noone I heard of got the second or even to goal, so it will be another low scoring day. Some guys even packed up on launch.

27 Oktober 2014

Day 3: 70 km around 1 tp

Another day in paradise. Stinking hot paradise - we had 40C today, and I was melting... is this Forbes or what??? How could I be so stupid and forget me e-cooline gear that has saved me on the hot paddock when we had the worlds?
It was a lot of hang-waiting on launch after the alternate window guys got off. Nils was first in the air, and he soared around, barely 100m above take off, for about two hours before the inversion finally broke and the rest on the hill got moving.
Of course we hit a strong cross-headwind again, like on any other Tambo day. It was going slow and low in the blue again. Only towards the first turnpoint Palen Creek I saw some clouds, but those were too big for my taste, some of them with thunder and lightening, so I decided to land. A little bit of rain cooled me down :)
Guy Hubbard flew furthest and won the day, as nobody made goal in Rathdowney due to the shaded area. Blinky is in first place now, closely followed by Adam Stevens and John Smith (NZ), you find the results here!
Looks like we will go to Beechmont take off for a few days now, as a trough moved through and hopefully brings us fresh, more active air!

26 Oktober 2014

Day 2: 60km around 2 turnpoints

Today we had to go to Beaudesert as the first turnpoint, then Hillview like yesterday, and back up north to Josephville as a goal. We weren´t getting very high again, and the wind seemed even stronger than yesterday. I went around the first turnpoint with Blenky, but then made some silly decisions and landed short of the second turnpoint. I think the heat got me today, it is really warming up over here, and despite wearing a bit hat and long sleeves and drinking enough, I was just exhausted.
I guess there were about 15 people at goal today, so the scores will be much higher than yesterday. Nick Purcell might have won the day, Jonny said. 
Sometimes it´s just great to have a friendly farmer who lets you pack up your glider in the shade of a big tree on their front lawn - thank you so much, Sue!!!
On the way back home, Ive met the cute wallaby again, we already saw him yesterday at the same spot. The grass must be tasty there!
The evenings up here on Tambo offer some spectacular drama skies, with big sunsets while having dinner on the verandah.
Well, six more days to go, if we are lucky with the weather. But also tomorrow it will heat up even more...

25 Oktober 2014

Day 1: 61km around 2 turnpoints

The first day of the Canungra Classic is over. A task southwest to Hillview, then northwest to Rathdowney with goal in Laravale was set. Quite ambitious, looking at the conditions. The NW wind picked up quite a bit, so we had quite a lot of cross, on the last leg even a full headwind.
No clouds for most of the day, with a low thermal height of rarely more than 1200m msl (which of course can be much less over ground), and rough, choppy lift didn´t make it easy. It felt like yoyo most of the day. Getting up in lift, being blown off track, heading back against the wind, getting lower, and the same over and over and over. I was superglad that I could stay with the leading gaggle, my swarm intelligence.
When I was heading out on final, for some moments I was leading ahead of Jonny, but of course he punched faster against the headwind than me. Not enough ballast ;) Still Im stoked to have landed 2nd in goal today, with Blenky and Jonas coming in after Jonny. Only four made it, I rarely ever started a comp up there :) Lucky I was only second, so I don´t have to wear the notorious "Red Shorts" - Im sure Davo found them somewhere and Jonny will have to put them on. The day winners of the past 20 years or so had to wear them ;)))
Very cute and curious cows watched me packing up my glider in the goal field.
The forecast for tomorrow looks pretty similar to today, I just hope that the wind doesn´t pick up more. Quite a few guys didn´t even get out of the start radius. Lisa from NZ flew to the Rathdowney turnpoint in a kingpost glider, she did great!

24 Oktober 2014

Canungra Classic starts today!

I had a wonderful flight yesterday in smooth air, taking off at Tambo launch, boating from cloud to cloud and eventually landing on Flocky´s airfield with most other guys. And yes - the Technora sail works, I must admit ;)
Right after take off, a big wedge tailed eagle joined the thermal I had found and stayed with me for a while, getting closer and closer, waving to me with his majestic, large outer wing feathers. Then I felt at home!
In the evening at registration, I was happy to see the original team - Davo the organizer just got the best people together to make this comp fantastic for both, pilots and their families and friends. Pilot´s dinner was incredible, all home made supertasty salads, and veggie patties or sausage and steak for the meat lovers.
Today we will have to start early, as the seabreeze might stop launching conditions on Tambo again early. I got off at 10.30 yesterday and it was no problem to wait until the inversion breaks. Will be a bit more difficult with 60 comp pilots ;)