19 Juli 2018

Day 7: 104km around- too many turnpoints!

Results here! DHV German report First the most important thing: Marco flew again! Tom gave him his spare Moyes RX pro, Niki a new reserve, everybody was really happy to see him back up in the sky! And the crowd funding for getting him new equipment is running really well too! My team leader asked for average points for Kajo and me for having tried to help when the accident happened. Kajo landed, I relayed messages. The team leaders decided to give Kajo average points, but not to me, as I didn´t loose altitude while flying over Marco´s rescue area (it was a very turbulent air mass full of thermals at that spot).
Anyway, so I fell back to 35. They had moved this set up spot down into the boonies to have the third launch line on the green carpet. I would have had to set up at the bottom of take off, moving my glider up, then into the middle lane ... I told the launch marshall it won´t be safe for me to take off after that ordeal of a walk out to take off. Plus the strong wind down there was so erratic that I was afraid to leave my glider alone during briefing on the other side of the hill. He allowed me to set up in the wind tec area (none there yesterday).
Before briefing, the meet director told me that I have to take off last in the first lane now because I didn´t set up in my designated spot. That meant going last basically instead of 5 after the leader Alex Ploner. Oh well. I couldn´t change anything, so I just waited until it was my turn.
Right after take off, I got hammered by some serious turbulence and flew very cautiously after that. A huge cloud cover shaded the whole launch area off, so I found myself almost landing when the first start gate was about to open. In a desperate effort I clicked the gate and started gliding out to the flats. I had my harness open, scanning the ground for possible thermal triggers.

Thankfully I stumbled into a small bubble and kept going downwind with it. The lift got stronger and up to 2400m for the first time of the day, enough to touch the radius of the "fishnet tights", as Jörg named our weird corridor task.
And then- it was shaded again. Down to about 400m above the ground, I found a bit of lift, still in survival mode. After a lot of patience, I finally hooked into a strong thermal and got up to 2500m. Calling my team mates, I didn´t get an answer and was hoping I wasn´t logged on. Turned out they had all landed by that time already!
At the 3rd turnpoint, I met two other guys and we spread gliding over the valley again for the 4th turnpoint. Just before that, we found the thermal of the day which took us to 4th and 5th turnpoint, back to the ridge on the other side again.
Christian Preininger found some great lift in the foothills (he´s a Lufthansa pilot, and I´m sure he could soar his airbus without engines on!), and soon we were a pack of 5 pilots, trying to find the best way to goal.
Jonny Durand glided off first. With a 23km/h head/crosswind, way too low for my performance, so I made more height, as Regina told me to take anything I could get, because many pilots had already landed on course. We clicked the last turnpoint at the Greek border, but our group got too low to make it to goal. I saw a couple of them landing and thought I would do the same, but flying over to them, I was lucky and hit a small bubble of lift. Drifting back from goal again, Austrian Christian joined me again. At some stage, I started heading out. Apparently the life tracking system was not working for the guys at goal the last 20 minutes of my flight, so Regina said "If you make it, I will eat a broom!" (funny German expression of disbelief). I answered, "Well you better start chewing on it, as I am only 1,5km out!"
Not many pilots there. I thought they had already all packed up and left - but it turned out that I was only the 3rd flex pilot that made goal on that day, after Tom Weissenberger and Dan Vhynalik. Together with team assistant Margit, Charlie our filmer and rigid wing goal pilots Timmi (was his birthday!) and Robert Bernat, we celebrated having been at goal on this tough day, while Regina safely and quickly drove us back to headquarter.
Thanks to all of you who were with me, watching our life tracking, cheering at home for our teams! I´m sure your thoughts sent me the last bit of lift that picked me up!

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