Award Winning Instruction
2009 Paragliding World Championships - Task 7
February 1, 2009
At the team leader meeting this morning the team from Denmark made a motion that we take one more day to honor Stefan Schmoker. After a brief discussion by the event organizers it went to a vote by the team leaders. It was decided that we would not fly a task today, but instead make the day a free flying day to honor Stefan. It was obvious that this was a good decision once we had all gathered at launch. There was an out pouring of emotion, and it seemed healthy that pilots would have another day before having to compete again. Pilots flew back to the lake and dropped flowers during the memorial free flying day. We have uploaded a video of the pilots meeting at launch before the free flying memorial for our friend Stefan Schmoker.
Rob Sporrer reporting from the pit
February 2, 2009 – Task 7
Task 7 was a 95km task with a 1km exit cylinder around Cerpel with a start time of 12:45pm. The remaining turn points were Piano, Santa Maria, Tesca1, Cualte was set up as the end of speed section with a 4km radius, and goal was the lake LZ in Valle. The climbs were really nice in the early part of the launch window. Pilots were getting very nice climbs out front and the day seemed to be very smooth. Things heated up and got strong on launch towards the end of the window, but it was all manageable.
Pilots were high at Crazy Thermal just before the start. It looked like they were higher than other days and a few clouds were popping. Just before the start pilots positioned themselves to take the start at the Cerpel cylinder, and then glide for the Piano turn point.
Pilots tagged the start then went for the Piano turn point. After hitting the Piano turn point, everyone pointed toward Crazy Thermal to get high before heading to Santa Maria. This was very hectic. Once again it seems there were far too many pilots concentrated in an area scrapping for the best climbs. I heard of three different mid-airs collision which thankfully did not result in any pilots having to land or throw their reserves.
Pilots were able to find their own space once they got high at Crazy Thermal. But the initial play to this lift source was very stressful and hectic for most. Pilots were climbing on different areas of Crazy Thermal Mesa. Once they topped out these climbs they would take slightly different lines to the Santa Maria turn point.
The best line to Santa Maria was the direct line. It was working well most everywhere today, and there were climbs to be had just about everywhere. It was a good idea to stay as high as possible in order to avoid wind at lower altitudes. Lift was plentiful, and the pilots who took the direct line to Santa Maria became the leaders.
Other pilots had made more of a play toward the Three Kings, and other had even pushed as far back as the mesa that leads to Divisa. These lines worked, but there was no advantage to these longer routes since there was plenty of lift on the line heading directly to the Santa Maria turn point. Pilots who took one of these alternative lines made the turn point but were behind the leaders now, and would not be able to catch them all day.
After tagging Santa Maria, pilots had options about which line to take for the Tezca1 turn point. The leaders took a line to the right and followed the ridge past Aguila following a route pilots have taken before when headed toward the Llano turn point. This line turned out to be a good choice. These pilots had nice climbs and a tailwind as they drove down the ridge line.
Other pilots made more of a direct line and came through the Diente area on their way to Tezca1, but the line right of course line may have been a bit faster. Pilots were getting good climbs out in the flats on the way to Tezca1. The best plan for getting Tezca1 turned out to be getting high away from the mountains in the flats, and then go in and get the turn point and immediately push back out to the flats to look for climbs in the same area. There were climbs in the mountains around Tezca1, but they weren't as hot as the climbs out in the flats.
Pilots came back toward the launch area after hitting the Tezca1 turn point. Some pilots were desperately low and had to fight the wind and hang onto scraps until things came together. The wind was stronger down low, and staying high today paid off for those who could avoid pushing hard getting low. Pilots who came back into the launch area did better if they took a line out in front of the launch area instead of battling the compression on the ridge to the south of launch.
Some pilots came in higher at launch and were able to get climbs which gave them enough altitude to get established on the mesa. Others came in lower and had to ridge soar up before finding a climb, and some had to go to the armpit and find a climb there that would allow them to get onto the mesa. Others came into the Penon and The Wall area and got climbs that would allow them to get high enough to make the play for the next turn point, which was a 4km end of speed cylinder around Cualte.
The leaders came in plenty high to glide across the mesa, and tag the Cualte cylinder and then glide to goal. Other had to get climbs beyond Cerro Gordo, and attempt to tank up some altitude before heading to goal at Valle. Once pilots had tagged the Cualte end of speed section there was no hurry for them to get to goal. There would be no more speed points awarded since Cualte was the end of speed section. They only needed to be sure to have enough altitude to reach the 400 meter cylinder at the lake LZ in order to get their points. They tanked up a little extra altitude since just making the 400 meter cylinder would mean you got wet.
Some pilots arrived at the final bump on the west side of the lake and ridge soared for a bit as some thermals mixed into the ridge lift. They were able to make some turns and get enough altitude to make goal with a hundred or so feet to spare. There were some heroic low glides, but nobody ended up in the water. These pilots know where they will end up at the end of their glide. There were over 100 pilots in goal. We have four more days of racing, and we will post results for today as soon as they are made available.
Rob Sporrer reporting from the pit
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