15 August 2010

On the road again

I travelled 1,300 miles by car and ferry to get to Sigillo in Italy for the Pre Worlds & Dutch Open and now the Dutch Open has ended I'm starting to make the drive slowly back towards home.

First stop off last night was Malpasso. Was glad to get away from the rain and wake up to sunshine!

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and today I'm heading towards Laragne where I shall stay until the end of August for the British Nationals

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The Dutch Open was a well run, fun and friendly comp. Thanks to the organisers and also the Babs, Tim and the girls for my lifts up the hill and retrieve.

I finished 13th on Friday the 13th! Congrats to all the winners:

1st Gerolf, the European Champion is on a roll
2nd Vladimir
3rd Jochen

1st Zenya
2nd Monique
3rd Christine

.......all photos pinched from Zenya - hope she doesn't mind.....:-)

12 August 2010

Monte Cucco random photos

Go Go Dancers at the Pre Worlds Party

Zac "Zippy" Majors
Campsite meal for one - it's a hard life

The Langer Report

Wanna see Jonny's Crack? I'm guessing most of you know that Jonny's glider was damaged on the last day - He managed to borrow another from the Spanish team and after a few tweaks flew it successfully around the course. Go Jonny!

Jochan - great bloke & Belgium Champ - the man to watch out for in the future

Ghosts at the Pre Worlds Party

Chilling at the beach

Cloudbase at Cucco

Horses on take-off

Lost! Where's the Lizard?
This morning - I could have got a picture but unfortunately Jochan grabbed the bag and it escaped - I found I had a ‘pet’ Lizard living in my washbag. There is a small hole near the hanger of the bag and it poked its head out whilst I was having a shower. I think I let out a small scream and was pinned against the wall of the shower before I realised what it was because I initially thought it was a snake! It just looked at me, looked around and then went back in its hole. On the way out of the washroom I said to Jochan “look what’s in my washbag” – he thought I said “hold my washbag” which he did (in the wrong place) and the very big Lizard jumped out. Hope he has found somewhere else safe to live.

I also have a Locust living on the camping fridge - wonder if he fancies a trip to France?

Dutch Open Tasks 3 & 4 - Luck, I have none!

Ok, I know I've a bit of catching up to do - here goes:

Sometimes Hang Gliding is as much about luck as it is about skill – FACT. I had pretty poor luck in the Pre Worlds and again on Task 3 of this comp. Why does the sun come out just as I land? Thankfully Task 4 was better for me.

Monte Cucco has not been kind to me but its all great experience – I’m chilled out, enjoying my flying, pushing out and exploring – no pimping for me. I like to decide where I go and not be persuaded by what others are doing. It’s the only way to learn, for me anyway.

Will we have the Worlds here next year? If nothing can be done about the restrictions I think possibly not – 2 weeks of running up and down the same ridge would be very boring.

Plenty has been said and written about the airspace restrictions we have to fly within – they are an absolute pain in the neck! At the closing ceremony for the pre Worlds the ‘organisers’ said that they hope to overcome some of the problems that we had faced during the comp. I think they will maybe be able to do something about the internet connection problems (?), should definitely be able to improve communications but am not really sure they will be able to do much about the Perugia airspace restrictions. Interestingly Caroline flew home from this airport: only a total of 7 scheduled flights were due in/out that day! (Appreciate there is probably commercial/private activity too but Caroline didn't spot any during her morning spent there).

Task 2 - So you want to know what happened with airspace infringements on Task 2? Mmmmm a secret competition in Airspace you think? Mmmmm there were a few airspace infringements that day but nobody got a zero score, only warnings. Rumour has it that Franco who was the Pre Worlds Meet Director was one who got a warning?

Task 3 was a bugger of a task for me. It was 130km and difficult! I hear that I was not alone trying to find lift.

Task 4 (today) was a short 86km task from the South take off up and down the ridge for a change. Somebody called Gerolf (who is he?) won the day. It was quite fun, quick good climbs, choppy glides but I guess that’s Monte Cucco.

The accumulative results have now been published for the last 3 tasks

Weather is looking pretty bad for the next couple of days – It’s been a booming 35 for the past few days which has made a nice change after all the rain from last week. Looks like the bad weather is coming back to us.

10 August 2010

Dutch Open - Monte Cucco

Because we only had four tasks in the Pre Worlds and not so spectacular flying I decided to say on and do the Dutch Open before heading on to Laragne for the Brit Nationals at the end of the month (22-28 August).

Registration on Sunday was heaving with around 80 pilots possibly thinking the same as me! I think this is the largest Dutch Open ever with pilots from 14 nations (so I’m told). It's like a ‘mini’ worlds.

Task 1 was 95km along the ridge (of course). It was pretty rough at times with good climbs. Task 2 was 120km and we are just waiting for the results – think AIR SPACE will be an issue for many today and I will not be surprised if I get a zero score. It was just difficult to get down!

There is an official site blogging the news and results and in English

Other bloggers
‘H’ (if you understand Dutch)

Pre Worlds - And the winners are.............

First - Manfred
Second - Jonny
Third - Mario

Carl came in 4th

I want a GoPro! Check out this cool video by Matjaz

4 August 2010

Jonny's Task 2 video

Task 3 – Pre Worlds Monte Cucco

'D'-rilled! This sums up pretty much what happened today! I got hammered coming back from 2nd turnpoint which was not fun.

91.2km task
5 turnpoints:
1 – Launch
2 – Pioraco
3 – Sigillo
4 – Fabriano
5 – East of Metalica
Goal at Esanatoglia

The 9am briefing was put back to 10am whilst discussions took place over where to go because they were expecting over development which as it turns out didn't happen. We went to the North launch on Monte Cucco.

If today was a free flying day I would have gone down and landed. I just didn't enjoy it from taking off and nearly getting turned into the hill in rough arse air, really weak climbs, strong breeze low down. Half way down the ridge the wind increased to 17mph which meant a very strong head wind to fly into and the tops of the thermals were sawn off, just a crap day really. I hear Mart got 11 down at coudbase all the way to the ground, he made the goal field but not the task same as others including Blay and Antoine.

I landed in a stubble field with 12 or so others and many more scattered around. It would have been a 'reasonable' walk out had the farmer not given Caroline permission to drive on.

Around 20 or so made goal including Carl, Shedsy & Julia – really good effort. Zac was first in goal on his WWT2C so he will be chuffed about that as team USA have been having bad luck so far this comp.

3 August 2010

Pre-Worlds Monte Cucco, Italy

Where is Gerolf, our European Champion?

Today is Day 4 and so far we've had 2 tasks:

Day 1 was canned – we didn't even go up the hill!
Day 2 was a 103km task
Day 3 was a 101km task
Day 4 – today canned due to unstable conditions. We went up the hill but were told not to rigg.
Manfred is so far winning

There is an amazing amount of staff at this competition – helping out at registration, launch, car parking, briefing. All are very efficient and friendly. Registration was a very smooth process, moving from table to table to do different things: insurance, instruments, helmets, passports all checked – which has resulted in some of the guys having to swap their carbon egg shell helmets for ENN966 certified helmets!

Airspace – W.H.A.T! There is lots of it here. I've had my first warning – don't know how close I was. If I had known the comp was being run in such airspace it would have been nice (maybe we were told?). My 5030 is capable of airspace but the comp isn't able to download to the latest software & anyway it would be a pain to keep switching from screen to screen. Luckily I have an old Emap with me which I've now managed to get set up and will be able to see where airspace is rather than relying on distance from a waypoint. Some pilots have got zero scores for airspace infringements and I do believe there are protests in with reference to this. For next year turnpoints not in the airspace would be a good idea.

You see the restrictions on this map - all inside the Yellow line!

The 2 tasks we've had have been great fun, easy flying, very enjoyable. Although turnpoint 2 yesterday was a little bit iffy with climbs only up to 7,000ft crossing a big valley to a big mountain with the turnpoint on with no landings. Scary looking. I was looking down at people low thinking “oh dear, glad I'm not them”. The goal landing field is a bit dodgy at times – first task saw people piling in, including Manfred. I came in on task 1 and did a slippy slidey landing and now have my war wounds to show for it. The ambulance team were happy to practice on me and dressed it for me yesterday.

My war wound - perhaps too much information?

The campsite is lovely and clean with great facilities, secure and friendly. We are camped near the other Brits and the Irish team (no sign of the upright monument yet!). Only problem is when the weather is like today then we have too much shade.

Doing the tourist thing

Other blogs & info from Monte Cucco
Oz Report
Official Site

26 May 2010

Round Two - British Open Series

I was really looking forward to Round Two of the BOS but the forecast is changing all the time and the weather has quickly moved from an Indian Summer to wind and rain this evening so its hard to say what to expect other than it *could* be cold but *could* be hot?

Thankfully we invested in a little caravan to keep us warm and dry for the British Comps - must be getting older but the thought of camping in the cold and rain just isn't appealing or exciting anymore.

The phone signal is usually a bit dodgy in The Dales but if she can, Caroline will be tweeting updates. Mark the Vet probably will be and Jamie too?

29 April 2010

Flytec Race & Rally - Day 5 - Task 4

Task 4 is another 109km task with Goal at Williston

Today the Rally begins as we will be sleeping in a different location tonight.
Other blogs:
Jamie - for news from her iphone
Wills Wing pilots
Oz Report

Flytec Race & Rally - Day 4 - Task 3 : 109km

A few sore heads this morning! Jonny put on his morning glory vid last night and Connie (Bobbies wife) cooked a lovely meal for us all then we tried to drink the weather better;-)

Even 'Sue' had a few to drink!

Task 3 - 109km
Task Winner - Zippy

Other blogs:
Jamie - for news from her iphone
Wills Wing pilots
Oz Report

27 April 2010

Flytec Race & Rally - Photos

Flytec Race & Rally - Day 3 - Task 2 : 87km Stopped

Task stopped – might not have been activated at 10km? Very windy and turbulent in an almost totally blue sky. Most landed back at Quest where we will be for the next 2 days due to the forecast wind direction.

It was a nice morning at Quest
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Jonny's blond batten bunny:-)
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Steve Kroop doing his Jim Carey mask impression!

Dustin n Nicole doin' it!

Other blogs:
Jamie - for news from her iphone
Wills Wing pilots
Oz Report

26 April 2010

Flytec Race & Rally - Day 2 - cancelled

No task today – cancelled

The sky looked very nice earlier on but was too windy to fly – only just blown out – it is now lovely and blue as I chill out by the pool at Quest in the sunshine after a swim in the lake.

Surprisingly there were no sore heads this morning from last night’s bottle walking and cardboard game!

Nature's light show as the storm came through last night was incredible shame I’ve only photos of the rain!

Seems that Florida’s wildlife is making itself known........ Jeff Shapiro had an interesting time when he landed with an Ali and one of the Brazilian pilots was greeted by 3 black snakes! So far I’ve just been visited by the incredible fire ants which are unbearable and I’m sure sometime soon my feet will rot off!

Other blogs:
Wills Wing pilots
Oz Report

Flytec Race & Rally - Day 1 - Task 1 update

Day 1 of the Flytec Race & Rally

Task 1 - 67km

I did pants. We took off early as the sky was overcast with embedded cu with a stiff breeze. We drifted out of the start about 8 mins before the start and 10 mins after I landed the cu and blue appeared after doing 17.6km! Sometimes its a luck thing, something I aint got! I landed in the same field as Davis and he and Belinda gave me a lift to Quest – thanks Belinda :-)

Dustin was the first in followed by Jonny the last one in. Every one else was somewhere between goal and launch.

It absolutely chucked it down here last night as the storm came in from the North.


Other blogs:
Wills Wing pilots

25 April 2010