Friday, July 4, 2008

Task 7: 107km to Puismoisson

Airborne: Scott Barrett takes briefing notes at launch this morning.

Photos from launch: are in this Flickr set

8.30am: It's a beautiful day here in Laragne, and looks like it should be a good flying day. Scott Barrett might be in first place with a 200 point lead, but there's still everything to race for. Join us on this last day in France as we head into the home straight of the pre-World Hang Gliding Championships 2008! Someone give me a sports mic...

9.15am: Rebrief at 9.45am to decide which hill to go up. The wind is from the north, which means using the lower-north take off on Chabre, or going up Aspre and waiting until the afternoon for the southerly/westerly to kick in. Lots of "I don't know" going on in the HQ briefing rooms jut now.

9.50am: We are off up Chabre. To the lower north take off. Reports later and through the day, technology permitting.

3.30pm: A 107km task to goal at Puismoisson, south of Sisteron, is in progress. The first start gate opened at 2.30pm, with later gates at 2.50pm and 3.10pm. Launch was fairly hectic off the lower north, although a good wind ensured gliders could launch quickly. Conditions on the north side were weak, with slow climbs to around 1800m. Base is forecast to rise to 2,600m by 3pm, and in the south - the direction pilots are heading - that looks like the case. It's blue pretty much everywhere else. Launching earlier was better - later pilots found it hard to scratch up, and some bombed out while the earlier gaggles drifted lowish along the hill.

6.30pm: Initial reports from the goal field said 39 in goal. Secondary reports said 50. Lots sounds like a good bet. Initial reports/unfounded rumours also suggested current world champion Attila Bertok might have won the day - he left on the second start gate, and landed at goal with the leaders.

8.45pm: Pilots are arriving back at the HQ, which is decked out for the prize giving ceremony, with a band, buffet and local officials. Scott Barrett got to goal ... he just walked in to download his GPS. Now we have to wait and see if he's done enough to hold onto his lead.

9pm: GB team chat. They reckon they did OK. Carl Wallbank, British team captain, was first across the line. Pic of the download line at HQ right now:

: 32 goal pilots have downloaded their tracklogs. So we are still waiting for a few. The band has started. We have just had 30 minutes of speeches. Pic is of Ali Gali (left, with glasses), the safety director, who acted as interpreter for the head of the FFVL and Laragne's mayor, also pictured. It's an oddish scene. The band is playing soft shuffle jazz, while sunburned pilots stride up the steps of the salle de fetes with their GPSs, oblivious to the local political importance such an event holds. Vive la France, vive Laragne! We will have a winner soon.

9.45pm: I just had a talk with M Chaves, from Italy. He sort of blew it today, his instruments died, he got nervous, and he felt he was flying blind - he got first turnpoint and that was it. But he was happy. He said the flying was great, that it had been a dream for 20 years to fly at this level, that he flew a task during the week and ranked in the top 40. It's a reminder that it's not all about winning - it's the taking part that counts as well...

10.15pm: We are waiting for 15 pilots. "They are on the bus. They're probably going to be at least half an hour," said the scorer about 60 seconds ago.

Pics are of the room as it is, with drinks and canapes, and a hang gliding simulator, which the kids are loving.


Haloman said...

Brilliant updates, Thank you very much from Toronto

Chabre2009 said...

You are welcome Haloman. Thanks for being here!