Hang Gliding Worlds: Day 3


With similar conditions to yesterday (blue again, slightly weaker lift and stronger winds-20kmh NNE) a 130km polygon task was set with 5 turn points and goal taking us back to the Esplanada.

Two major gaggles formed before the start, one on the ridge and another about 8km in the flats out in front of take off. The first start was half an hour later than previous days (2:00PM) as organizers were concerned about difficult launching conditions so we had an extra half hour to kill in the air before the race began.

John and I were in the gaggle out on the flats and had a good start from about 9000ft. At the first turnpoint both gaggles fused into a super gaggle of about 80 pilots which flew the course together as one up until the second last turn-point.

John was pushing hard and often out in front leading the pack, racing low he found the strongest climb in the area on several occasions only to be swarmed by 80 others gliders, myself included. Thermals averaged around 500fpm but were often pulsing and the cores were shifting around a lot which made it hard for anyone to breakaway and go alone.

The second last turn-point proved the most difficult of the day. It was getting late and conditions were weakening and the 20km headwind provided no favours. The super gaggle dispersed and I managed to stick with a good crew getting a jump on the rest of the field. After about 10 minutes of scratching just after the second last TP, our climb eventually kicked and we got back up to 9500ft. I was with the robots Alex Ploner and Christian Ciech as well as several other top dudes. The lift had now significantly weakened and we were taking 200-300fpm climbs but staying high.

I had to stop just before the lake leading up to goal at Brasilia and drift in a mega weak 100fpm until my numbers went positive and glided with a 12:1 into goal crossing the line in about 16th place.

The Esplanada has to be one of the radest goals around. I landed to a DJ blasting tunes, food and beer for sale, hundreds of local people around to check out the action as well as a big pilot massage tent where competitors can relax and get a post flight rub up.

Many pilots landed about 10km short including John as the day had majorly shut down so the slower guys didn't have a chance anymore.

Day 3 results:

1. Alex Ploner (Italy)
3. Christian Ciech (Italy)

NZ Team

16. Jonas Lobitz
58. John Smith
121. Derek McKee

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