Monday, 15 July 2013

Day 1, task 1 – the task that almost wasn’t…

The organization has split us into two groups to go up the mountain, with groups alternating time (09h00 or 10h00) on alternating days. South Africa is in “group 1”, so went up the mountain at around 09h30 today.

The wind was over the back as predicted, but as the day warmed up, a few cycles came up the front and it started to look like a promising day. Then, just about the time the window opened, it clouded over, and the majority (bar 1 or 2 pilots) was still sitting on the mountain when the start opened…with instrument alerts echoing across launch.

Window was scheduled to close at 15h00 and with a few competitors in the air it eventually came to crunch time and the rest of the field launched in record time. The gaggles worked their way up to cloud-base and “better late than never” went through the start and set off on the course – via three turn points, to goal over an optimized distance of 75.2km.

The first 20 odd km seemed to run pretty smoothly, after which competitors had to decide ‘flats’ or ‘mountain’ – the flats proved to be difficult and slow, but the best choice today and pilots were rewarded in the end with late and strong climbs – Russell got his best climb about 10km from goal. The high strong northerly was another factor, and there were a few pilots who landed just short of goal.

Provisional results are out with Marco Littame (Italy) in first place, Jeremie Lager (France) and Dusan Oroz (SLO) in third. First lady is Petra Slivova, in 29th position overall. Results are at 

Consensus from the team is that it was a difficult first day, with about ten of the top twenty pilots in the world landing early. With Russell and Andre both in goal, we should get a respectable score for the day. Chris made the end of speed section, but landed short. Stef, Nevil and Khobi and their respective gaggles fell victim to immensely difficult conditions.

A happy Russell, first South African and 16th in goal
Andre arrives, 26th in goal.
We spent a fair bit of time ‘roasting’ on launch and a big thank you to the Brits for giving us a big green umbrella for shade on launch – you guys rock! Also, we would like to congratulate Emile on his fantastic flight (sixth overall)…and perhaps take at least some credit for his superb performance today… we did after all feed him well yesterday…does that count? Well flown ‘old chap’ 

Today, we would also like to remember our friend Dilip Kotecha who passed away one year ago at the pre Worlds. Dilip and Vijay shared our house and some great memories last year during the pre-Worlds, and the year before when a gaggle of South Africans flew in the Sky Nomad comp. Shambala has created the most amazing tribute to Dilip at the top of the chair lift – what an awesome and unexpected gesture!