High Hopes in the French Alps

Competition Weekend ‘A’ List

Lead Gaggle... in pursuit of a couple of lead out racers..

25th June – Competition Day 1

There’s been a competition here this weekend. An ‘A’ Comp, organised by St Gervais Vol Libre. We have an early CP pilot with us so Dennis was working with him on the training hill, to solidify his launches. We didn’t realise there was a competition on until Dennis called me, by then it was a bit late to go up to launch as I could see loads of gliders scratching about in what were very stable conditions. I’d got to nip out anyway, so thought I’d drop by the Lac where they were going to do some ground handling practice, as Competition skies are not the place for an early pilot, especially in über-stable conditions!

I’d arrived at the Lac before they did, and watched the competition gliders gliding along some quite low across the valley. The glides of the leaders were incredible and they were leaving exceptionally low, and making it across the valley, quite outstanding! Whilst I was waiting, a wedding party turned up for some happy couple snaps with Mont Blanc as the back drop, nice setting.

Dennis arrived with Matthew, and it was so still there was barely a breath, well I fancied a bit of a play so did a bit of ground handling with the few breaths there were. There was one niviuk glider heading over that was just a bit too low I thought and sure enough landed at the lake, so not getting very far round the course. I would have liked to have seen the route, but didn’t get the waypoints, I’ll see if I can look it up on the website later.

I left Dennis and Matthew to it, and caught up with them later, as the valley wind kicked in after an hour or so and it all got far to strong. They went to Batistock to check if the conditions were any better there. At last they’ve finally cut the grass at Batistock, which means if we decide to land there we won’t be having to contend with grasshoppers, seeds, long grass and the like. But Batistock was no good for ground handling today, as it was also Goal for today’s competition. So it was back to the ranch.

Day 1 - Tagging (what looked to me) like the penultimate waypoint, then 90º to Prarion.

Later I took Tizzy for a walk and was interested to see where the turnpoints were. It looked like there was one somewhere over Intermarché a number of gliders headed in that direction in a pretty straight line then hung a 90º turn heading off towards Prarion, from there it looked like a stright glide to goal. Nice task, all within the valley, from what I could see. Loads landed out though, dotted about all over the place not getting much height and scraping through a couple of inversion layers… nice task, very difficult conditions good task for the patient or those with the superior glide… as always.

26th June – Competition Day 2

Day 2, of the competition. And…. more stability. We flew Matthew this morning for the first time and he managed to get a good number of flights in before the competitors started to get a bit edgy. A task had been set although no time established for most of the day, finally around 3pm they took off. By this time… I’d driven back down, it’s been so sultry the last two days.

Earlier on launch, there were about 5 gliders launching from Mont Blanc! It was the perfect day to fly off Mont Blanc… absolutely perfect, which isn’t always the case… In fact the whole weekend has been perfect to fly off the Mountain. O! for some lightweight kit! – or a helicopter ride to the top! – or better still a Top landing… that only ever seems to happen every six years, so we’ve got a few more to wait for that to come ’round again.

It looked like the task was set towards the North, in the direction of Samoëns. Again, loads of scraping going on, but a lucky few escaped and managed to climb out and high, cruising out of sight in the direction of Samoëns… the rest were scratching for whatever crumbs of lift they could find. Most didn’t seem to get above 1500 meters, the few that did get away skied out and off..

June 25, 2011 - Posted by | Competition, Flying

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