Forbes 2011 – Day 3

A blue day from the morning, but we got some clouds around 10:30 and the sky was filled with nice looking cumulus while getting ready to tow up. The task was 167km with three TP, coming back to goal in Forbes. I got up nicely, and went upwind to the edge of the 10km start circle to wait for the first start at 13:30. The clouds and thermals there died off a bit and I got a 4 minutes late start, but with a few big gaggles up ahead it was not too hard to catch up again.

The run to the first and second TP was OK and I was flying fast with only a few gliders ahead of me. I went on a long glide under crappy clouds after the second TP, and got a little low coming out under the shade aiming for a nice sunny hill with a tractor working the field. The thermal was there when I came in around 400 meters over the ground, after a few turns I heard screaming and saw the biggest wedge-tailed eagle I’ve seen here. It was really agressive, screaming at me, and attacking my glider again and again while I was struggling to get up in the broken thermal.

I tried to yell back at it, and push out when it tried to attack me, but it would not leave me alone. When it started hitting my wingtip hard and I saw it had teared holes in my top-surface I had to admit defeat and glide away from the thermal in hope of finding another themal quickly. I found another bit of weak lift after a km, but the eagle was still not satisfied and kept coming at me so I had to keep gliding and get away from it.

I was low and desperate for lift now, but the last farmhouse and treeline in the sun did not work, and I had to land 10km from the last TP, swearing and cursing . Maybe there’s room for a sawed-off shotgun in my harness… I have to bring out the tape tomorrow, and tape up the sail. The same eagle also got Grant Heaney when he came after me in the same spot, he was a bit higher and managed to get away from it.

Olav did well, but landed in the same paddoc as Grant 1 km from goal, Neil Petersen is the last man on our team, he had to land near the second TP.