18 Januar 2013

Last Day: 185 out and return

... with a strong cross/headwind. My day started with an unpleasant surprise - I started right into a dust devil. My tug pilot Jim Prahl said he just tried to get the dragonfly under control again, but the weak link broke. At 200m above the ground with some whirling dust underneath you and fierce turbulence in the air, not the best start into a task. Some pitch and load tests later, I found myself at a high cloud base. And knew the day would not be piece of cake.
I had to head into a strong crosswind leg. Even though base was at 3000m, sink was enormous between the thermals. The strongest lift that Jörg called me into was 9m/s integrated up! still I lost the guys and flew on my own. Half way to the first turnpoint, my camelbak broke and I lost my water. And my ballast. Not good if you are a very light pilot and it blows with up to 38km/h from the side...
I made it around the turnpoint and headed to Bogan Gate. It was getting blue, and I was happy about any lift I could find. Until I heard a loud screach! Something whacked my glider hard. A wedge tailed eagle, a huge guy with a wing span of about one and a half meters, was angy with me. I tried to fly away, but he followed and kept attacking me. I tried to fly fast, to wing over, I spoke friendly with him, and I cursed, and screached like he did. Nope, he wouldnt let me go. He called his mate instead, and then the attacked me together.
I landed 18km short of goal after 6.5 hours of flying, and I nearly cried when I saw my sail. Rips and holes in the leading edge and the wing tips. Both sides. It was a brand new glider, now I can order a new sail. Anyway, I won the day in the women´s score again, and I won the competition overall. Would have been nice to have an easier last day, but I guess I have to be happy that I got away with just some material damage.

Lukas from my team won the day, ahead of Jörg! They did a great job. Also Roland and Gerd got to goal, a great finish for the German team! Manfred got to goal ahead of Alex, so he will be the new World Champion and Alex 2nd. Antoine unfortunately didnt make goal and dropped back, so probably Filippo Opicci moved up to 3rd place. The Italian Team got the gold medal again, they are invincible! Congratulations. And thanks so much to all the poor guys who had to stay on the ground, the organizers, the crew, our team assistants and drivers - I felt sorry for them, because the only bearable temperatures were high in the air!

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