Sopot delivered another surprise with a 70.5km task in the valley, and a goal at Banya. After an entertaining and intimidating display of why you would not want to be caught in a whirley on launch...the day calmed down and window opened at 14h15 with a start at 15h15.
|A glider and harness gets ripped up in one of two mega-whirleys that ripped through launch|
The task was won by Stephan Morgenthaler from Switzerland in 2:18:40, with Luca Donini from Italy in second and Josh Cohn from the USA in third. First lady, and in twelfth position was Seiko Fukuoka in 2:20:33.
|The task board|
We asked the team to describe their day in one word:
“In a word word…discombobulated. It was doubtful whether we were even going to get off the hill. But we did, and then floated around, freezing, at cloudbase waiting for start. I took start, then the first point, and the whole field went on a massive glide with the field spread across a 45-degree angle – it was amazing that nobody landed! Once I got up from there it was a case of following the clouds.” Khobi-Jane Bowden
“In a word…tricky. After the time and mother nature’s entertainment up on launch I’m very surprised that we had such a great task. The whole field had a really good start, followed by a death glide towards turnpoint two and a completely shaded valley. Every body got pretty low and the guys who managed to get to the one sunny bit got up and away the quickest. I got stuck low…very low, maybe 50m from the ground and saw the whole field flying over my head. Until the very last pilot, Russell, joined up with me, and the two of us made up the rear. We were patient and worked our way back up to cloudbase and after that the valley opened up and the flying became easy. Russell and I flew pretty much the whole task together making up good time and ending in a pretty good position.” Chris
“In a word…maybe. I was looking good, and then not so good anymore. That’s me. That’s all I want to say.” Stef
“In a word…reasonable. I was on course and in front, and then got stuck. My favourite site is having a bad year weather-wise, but this was a reasonable task.” Nevil
“In a word…recovery. Somehow I came back from the absolutely last position, no jokes, to a reasonable finish. I had a lot of catching up to do from the rear but once I was up I managed to stay up. The day was very light initially but then turned into a beautiful flying day, which was quite surprising considering how late it was. The competition field is strong as expected, but these flying conditions require decision- making and some of the choices are a gamble.” Russell
“In a word…enigmatic. With dust devils on launch ripping glider bags and shirts to cloudbase, liberated speed sleeves thermaling into the clouds, crazy tandem pilots getting ready to launch when some of the field was quietly hoping that we were on the brink of being sent home….to 150 pilots at cloudbase, on a death glide with no sun in the valley…and then 5m per second climbs… enigmatic probably doesn’t cover it. I thought today had a mix of everything you could ever have in a task. Slow, fast, desperate, euphoric, tricky, easy, hard.... But safe, very slow and a lot of fun! Andre
“In a word…frustrating – it was difficult to follow our team with the livetracking down initially, but the sight of the whole field crossing the valley was pretty awesome. And of course I’m pleased to see five of them in goal!” Jan
“In a word…moving. It was an incredible sight seeing the field silhouetted against the cloud cover as they crossed the valley… I definitely felt every so slightly envious…and was tempted to make a dent in the goal beer at this stage, which I’m glad to report did make it all the way to its destination. Goal was another highlight with the field bearing down on it like the Spanish Armada...albeit on a successful mission…” Chrissi
Results can be found here: