120 pilots and a good forecast. Great.
The weeks up to the competition had provided variable, sometimes windy conditions.
The week before and the weather improved dramatically and the people flying to practice for the comp flew long and far... and were knackered before it even started!
We are still running, with task 4 completed.... more to come.
Day 0 Task 0; The practice day The same as last year, we decided to run a fully tasked and scored day that didn't count for the competition. It got everyone flying, and practicing with their gps.. an entirely good plan.
The task was 38.8km elapsed time: Take off at Chabre, Col St Ange, La Garde, St Genis and goal at Laragne Camping.
Ruud Van der Heijden won, Jacques Bouvard second, and Tom Payne winner of the Handicapped scoring and Third overall.
The winners got a copy of Compegps for their top efforts.
Day 1 Task 1See the Animation
A good looking forecast with light SW winds.
A 38.5km Race to goal was set. Take off at Chabre, Col St ange then the start 4km from L06 Le Suillet, then Savouvournon, Aspres antennas and Aspres LZ.
With good clouds over the first turnpoint pilots waited easily for the start.
The crux came at the second turnpoint, some heading North to Beaumont; off track but looking better. Others went straight across the valley.
There were good climbs around the village at the third turnpoint, but not easy to find.
The glide into Aspres decked a few people and the ridge behind goal was not as bouyant as expected.
45 got into goal, with many goal virgins. The day was good.
The fastest of the day was John Cardiff, but lost his score due to a technicality.
The winner of the day was John Panter, Second Richard Bungay. Top DHV2 was Stefan Werner in 6, top DHV1-2 was Jon Collie in 15 and top DHV1 was Chris Hines in 41.
Day 2 Task 2See the Animation
Another good looking day with light SW winds.
A 56km race to goal was set via 5 turnpoints. People were learning how to use their gps quick.
Take off from Chabre and the start 7km from TP1, Col St Jean, then back to take off, North to Beaumont, across the valley to St Genis and headwind glide into goal at Laragne Camping.
Good climbs at launch saw many of the field at the start at 2700m but no sign of over-crowding. Over the start line and there were few thermals on route to the turnpoint, leaving some people scrabbling low at the col. Those that made it back to the start line were again boosted to base and cruised back to launch in sometimes sporty air. While heading North a top up was required half way, but the growing cloud over Beaumont indicated that lift was not going to be a problem. As the leaders went in to Beaumont some thermalled, some big eared, as big lift for a couple of km made the glide in and out a little too easy. "Don't fly into cloud, We are watching you" announced Xavier.
From 2800m the glide across the valley was easy, but sinky, with the next climb in the middle of the 'volcano'.
At the last turnpoint the big decision was when to glide, when to top up. The headwind was stronger as you got low, but never very strong.
55 pilots got to goal and a few dropped short.
It was another day for personal bests all around.
Winner of the day was Mark Hayman, just ahead of Ruud Van der Heijden and Gavin Zahner. Top DHV2 was David Thomson in 6, Top DHV1-2 was Nigel Page in 26 and top DHV1 was Rachael Evens in 38.
Day 3 Task 3See the Animation
An Even better looking day, with light winds forecast and good thermals.
A shorter, 43km race round the valley was set. Take off at Chabre, then to start 1km around Col St Ange. Chante Duc, Ubac and North donwind to goal at Laragne Camping.
The first pilots off saw good climbs and clouds to the start gate and in the valley. Base at 2700m offered great views for the wait for the start, though the gentle South West wind was going to make the day harder than expected. About 20 pilots took the start high and on time, crossing directly south rather than on the course line. This paid off; whilst there were few climbs in the valley, the ridge line running up from Eourres was working well. All of the clouds had disappeared as the westerly wind started to push in and a large number of pilots didn't get to turnpoint 2. Those that arrived at turnpoint 2 had a relatively easy run along the Jabron Valley East to Ubac. The decision to start the final glide was not easy. Some left and took the mountain side of the valley and some went straight. Some had enough height, and some did not. I found 2400m direct was just enough, but a bit uncomfortable and a little more height would have been lovely.
38 Pilots made goal. Winner and top DHV2 was Xavier Murillo, second also on DHV2 was John Cardiff. Top DHV2-3 was Ruud Van der Heijden in 3. Top DHV1-2 was Jon Collie in 17 and top DHV1 was Rachael Evans in 32.
Day 4 Task 4See the Animation
The weather was turning, though the forecast was fine, with winds from the South West turning West.
We got to Launch and the air was clear, no haze like the the previous days, and no clouds anywhere.
A 45.6km Race to goal was set, a bit optimistic in my mind. Take off at Charbre, Col St Ange, Orpierre ridge, over to the volcano, up to Aspres antennas and goal at Aspres.
We took off with weak climbs and a 1750m inversion. With about half of the field off the whole area lifted and 6m smooth climbs took us to 2700m, now that was unexpected. A 15 - 20km headwind made the turnpoint slow to arrive, but the good climbs kept everyone ready for a good start. The leaders went straight around the orpierre turnpoint and straight to the volcano (St genis) in a glide. With no lift anywhere it seemed the day would end short, but again, the thermals popped just when they were needed and climbs were found at the turnpoint.
The next glide was more difficult again as the numbers in the air decreased. The gaggles and the patient got to goal and the pushers struggled.
31 pilots made goal. The winner was John Panter, then Mark Hayman and then Ruud Van der Heijden all aboard DHV2-3 machines. Stefan Werner was top DHV2 in 7. Top DHV1-2 was Jon Collie in 15 and top DHV1 was Chris Hines in 27.
Day 5 No Task The grey clouds over the valley showed that the day was not going to be good for tasking.
The Ozone test pilots flew, showing everyone the way glider testing was performed.
Everyone waited in the North landing whilst Russell, Jerome and David put gliders through their paces.
Earlier Matt decided to get off his tandem flight with Sebastien, and two paramotors flew some tricks both high and wild, and low through the trees. Thoroughly entertaining.
Day 6 No Task The last day rained. There would be no more Ozone Chabre Open until next year.
Report by Mark Graham