The last few days we had very good conditons, and since the wind died down enough to fly back home we got some out and return tasks. Task 5 was 177km north to Tullamore and back, with totally blue skies and predicted 30-35 km/h crosswind it looked like a hard day. I got in line early to tow, and hit turbulence behind the tug at 150 meters that snapped my weaklink. I landed back close to the towing line and Vicki slotted me back in as number 2. I got in behind Grant on the trike, and almost at the same spot the line got slack and I did not fly smooth enough to save the weaklink again. I was pissed off and frustrated at 100 meters above the ground, as the time to start gate was getting closer. The thermal felt quite strong as I drifted back over the airstrip, I concentrated fully on taking it up, and it actually got me to 1800 meters where I could join up with the rest of the huge and at times chaotic gaggle, up to 2800 meters at the start circle.
From there the conditions were quite good, and a few whispy clouds indicated the thermals in front of us. The gaggle is always right on blus days, so we stuck together in good conditions towards the turnpoint. I joined up with Jon and Olav, and we had Oleg, Andreas and Gerolf in the same gaggle so the speed was good. At the turnpoint we hit massive sink, since I was among the first to turn at the TP I could not see the better lines, and lost height in 4-5m/s sink and headwind. Finally I spotted a few gliders turning when we were getting critically low, and a rough 4 m/s thermal took us back up into cool air. By this time my muscles had enough flying, and I was too tired to fly efficiently enough to keep up. I’ve been flying more than 4 hours every day, and with no practice at all before it’s very hard on the body. I had to let the main gaggle go at 40 km from goal, and just slowed down in the thermals and on glide to I could relax a little and make it back home. I did the final glide with Balaz and Atilla, but could not beat them to goal even if I had a better height. I had enough controlling the gliders with cramping shoulders and back. I got in at 24. place. Jon did very well with 8. place, and Olav at 17. Nils struggled, and had to land 30 km before goal.
The final day I went for a massage in the morning to loosen up a very stiff upper body. It helped a lot and I felt pretty good in the back, but my left shoulder was still very sore. We got a “short” task of 127km out&return, in what looked to be similar conditions to the day before, this time to the south with a head/cross wind on the return leg. I was among the last to tow up, as most people went very early, and joined up with Steve Moyes and Olli at the start circle. The air was very rough, with blue conditions and some very strong cores punching through the inversion. We got up to 2900 meters, and glided towards the south in two main gaggles. I went with the right gaggle, as it was the smaller one, and had Oleg on top of it. I took it very easy, and let everyone fly in front to save my shoulder that was starting to cramp up again in the rough air.
At the TP the gaggles split up even more, and I had a few small gaggles in front marking lift so it was easy to stay high and find good lines pushing into the wind going back home. At 30 km out, and at 2800 meters I started an optimistic final glide. With the headwind I would probably need more lift than sink to make it in. Boy did I find lift… I could not get down, flying as fast as I dared and could, I still passed the goal line at 1600 meters. Olav came in just behind me and had the same experience, while Jon and Gerolf had the opposite and hit the massive sink that were around the lift. They decked it 8 km out from goal. Nils Åge had taken an earlier start and got in on 24. place, me on 25, Olav 31. Andreas won the day. Jon Jr. won the comp, Robert Reisinger on second, Oleg third.
Total results at http://www.moyes.com.au/Forbes2007/Total.htm
All in all the flying in Forbes was very good, and despite one bad day I’m happy with the results. We’re now in Mt. Beauty for the Bogong cup, here’s quite a lot of smoke in the air from bushfires, and it seems to overdevelop today.
I’ll try to upload more pictures later.