Six days out of seven provided for a great competition.
Day 0 Task 0; The practice day: After the "How to do competitions" talk by Current British Champion Russell Ogden and the "How to use a GPS" by current British team member Nicky Moss, we still thought it prudent to run a practice day And lo, it was a good plan.
The day started grey finished grey and was grey in the middle. A 22km elapsed time race to goal was set around two turnpoints and goal in the campsite at Laragne.
29 pilots got to goal, several made gps errors, some didn't launch, some just bombed and I think we had a tree dweller; highly successful lots of practice!
Day 1 Task 1See the animation of everyone in goal
Some clouds in the morning but a good forecast so we all went up to Chabre. After a little debate the first task of the competition was set a 41km elapsed time speed run via 4 turnpoints. Window and start were opened at 13:10. Good early climbs were to be had and many went to cloudbase (2400m) at the start 3km from L01. Most chose the direct route from L01 to Beaumont L05 only to find they got drilled into Orpierre only half way. The climb on the Orpierre ridge fired the lucky ones back to the clouds and on to the next waypoint. The next crossing, to L35, was long... bouyant for some and very definitely not for others. Few arriving low at L35 got to go any further whilst most of those that got up again found their way to the Aspres ridge for the final turnpoint and a short headwind glide to goal.
First to take off and first into goal was Mark Graham (Advance Sigma 6). The day was won by Mark Hayman (Advance Omega 6) who did the task in 63 minutes and second Nicolas Bernhard (Ozone Mantra) 67 seconds slower.
16 pilots got to Goal, with a couple of goal virgins. A high percentage got over 15km and were most happy.
In the evening Bob Drury spoke about being Bob Drury, the ups and downs of living with himself!
Day 2 After a good day yesterday the rain gods stepped in and said thou shalt rest. We spent the morning with a safety in flight talk by Jocky Sanderson then, in the afternoon Jocky went through some of the previous days flights, ably aided by Mark Graham, Mark Hayman and Xavier Murillo and CompeGPS
An evening Disco with Gee the DeeJay went down very well.
Day 3 Task 2See the animation of everyone in goal
The North wind was here; not good for a competition off Chabre, so we all went to Bergies at Sederon. This place is known to be a litlle tricky to get a climb from, but there were few options. The task was set; a 37km elapsed time to Laragne Camping via 2 turnpoints, starting at 13:30. The sky was slow to develop and the first people off struggled to climb. In fact lots of people struggled to climb. Only 14 people managed to get more than 10km which made the day quite low scoring. First off launch was Mark Graham, again, who was again first in goal and fastest taking 91 minutes. Simon Headford (Airwave Sport 2) was second fastest by just 34 seconds. The final glide into goal was head wind, but most people knew this and took the last section very carefully.
At the end of the day we all went to Ribiers for a Paella and Pizza fest with music and dancing, 'twas grand.
Day 4 Task 3See the animation of the top 9 (except the winner because of track problems)
That North wind was still here so we went to Bergies again. Again the clouds were slow to develop. The same task as yesterday was set, starting at 13:30 again. This time 16 people got more than 10km and 3 in goal. First in were Russell Ogden (Ozone Rush) and Matt Gerdes (Ozone Rush) then Mark Hayman (Advance Omega 6). The head-wind into goal was stronger than yesterday, causing quite a few people to land short.
In the evening Chris and Judy gave a facinating talk about their latest trek to film flying with Condors in Patagonia, soon to be shown on the BBC and all over Europe.
Day 5 Task 4See the animation of the top 9
The North wind was still around, but the thermic wind up Laragne launch was predicted to be stronger. We went up Chabre, but alas the wind was switching and dust devils were everywhere. So down we went, and off to Buc near Sederon, just a stones-throw from Bergies. The day looked great - cumulus everywhere; a task was set to Laragne camping via one turnpoint at Ribiers, 37.2km starting at 16:50.
The wind was ridge soarable with odd thermals, and many took off immediately, but the wind quickly died. Most people climbed out and got some way down the course. Martin Sandwith was first away, over the back probably wishing he had more height but found a nice climb on Bergies just behind. Martin was first to the turnpoint but got stuck soaring on Mison a little short of goal. The clouds were big and grey and the headwind on the final leg was very difficult. Only two pilots got away from Mison under the threatening clouds; Alfonso Diaz Malagon (Advance Sigma 6) who won the day and Mark Graham was a close second. Martin was just 1200m short. The task was stopped later for over threatening clouds with only a few pilots still flying.
Day 6 Task 5See the animation of the top 6 (except the winner because of track problems)
Light winds and fluffy clouds, it looked like a good and proper Laragne day, and the forecast agreed. The task was to be fast and short; 46km elapsed time to Laragne Camping goal via 5 turnpoints starting at 13:15.
The first bunch launched into good conditions but launch then shaded out for a time. After that people launched sporadicaly in sunny periods while a handfull never got off.
Those that were on course got to 2400m quite quickly and started down the ridge. A few didn't get back to the second turnpoint at launch but those that did got back up to base and went on a seriously sinky glide towards Beaumont. As people approached the foothills of Beaumont it was clear that there was an unanticipated West wind that decked all but the most persistant. Only four people got the third turnpoint; Russell Ogden (Ozone Vulcan), Matt Gerdes (Ozone Rush), Andrew Larkins (Gradient Aspen) and Anthony Green (Aerodyne Dune). A special mention goes to Anthony, you can see from his track log that he tries everything to get the turnpoint and away.
The presentation night was held in a Marquee in the campsite most of the time with electricity. Prizes were given for Handicap and non-handicap scoring as well as for each catagory of glider. The prize draw for a glider was one by Roy Clarke whilst Judy claimed her prize as top pilot