Yesterday looked like a very good day, no winds and good thermals. We went to Mt. Buffalo and set up among the rocks there. The takeoff is a ramp off a cliff with nothing under it for a 1000 meters. Spectacular! I was number 3 to take off, as we have reversed the top 1/3 for the takeoff order. I did not think about the steep cliff launch until i looked back after I had launched and saw the vertical dropoff.
The task was 140 something via a new turnpoint on top of Feathertop(?) mountain, back to the top of Mt. Porepunkah at Bright, over to the Kiewa valley north end, and back to Mt. Beauty.
The air was rough again, and it was hard work in the start gaggle waiting for the start gate to open. The day was totally blue, with strong turbulent lift at times, handling the big RS4 was not easy. The air was just as turbulent when gliding as thermalling. Going with the gaggle would be the strategy for racing. I had a good run towards the first TP flying with the lead gaggle, but as I glided in towards the TP in sink we spread out, I was on top and went to the right and found the sink, bigtime. I was flushed off the ridge in 5-6m/s sink, and had to struggle for a long time to get back up high. The TP was at 1700 meters, and the inversion started at 1600, so it took 3 tried before I could get in there and get the TP.
I glided off back to Bright with 2 other gliders, the lead gaggle was long gone by then and nowhere to be seen. We struggled low at Bright and had to take some crappy lift to get back up over the mountain. The 2 other gliders landed at Bright, and I suddenly felt very alone in the air. Gliding back to the last TP in the Kiewa valley I finally spotted some other gliders, but they were low and struggling, I made the mistake of doing some turns over them instead of going straight for the TP that was 3 km upwind, from where I could have glided back to the small gaggle. I lost 200m there, and took the TP very low and started slowly drifting back towards goal stopping in every solid feeling lift. But the day was shutting down and I was low in the middle of the valley, so after 15 km I had to land, 20km out from Goal. Just one more thermal would have brought be in, and into the top 10 overall. But hindsight is easy…
Today we went to Mystic, in hope that the forecast strong northerly would not be too strong. We waited on the hill for a while, as the gusts got stronger it became clear that it was not very good. The day was canceled at 14:30, and we went to a nice spot in the river north of the Porepunkah airstrip.