By Friday many competition pilots had arrived and the forecast is quite good. At the moment it looks unsettled for the second half of the competition, which may mean short tasks before storms, or it may mean anything really... who knows.
Keep watching this page as the event develops.
Jocky will get the field excited for the following proper task days by doing a talk on Friday evening, explaining the classic routes, how to do them and how to avoid the wedge of failure.
Day 0, Task 0, Saturday June 5, the practice day.
As the practice day has proved so successful over the last years, we had another.
The forecast was for a fine day; winds light from the South West low down, and from the West higher up.
90 Pilots were bussed-up the Chabre mountain; we were greeted by blue skies and almost no wind... perfect.
The task was set: A 47km race going East 5km to Col St Ange then the start gate 4.5km from the Orpierre ridge 45 minutes after the window opened. Then on to Beaumont, Bonnet Rouge then back to Laragne camping.
All pilots launched within an hour and at least half were ready at the start gate... making quite a spectacle over Orpierre. As we flew to Beaumont the clouds were growing and the thermals were very good. The long glide to Bonnet Rouge saw pilots getting close to the ridge but the thermals there were quite feisty but easy to get high again. As the leaders took the waypoint and travelled back East along the ridge, all of the previous lift had disappeared and the whole area shaded out. So the whole field started to struggle for the journey back. Most made it into the main valley with 15 - 20km to go, but then it started to rain paragliders as the thermals were very hard to find
Gerard Legras (Gin Boomerang GTO) was the only pilot in goal, with Chavert Ter Maat (Nova Tycoon) and Max Stek (UP Trango) landing just short. Well done to everyone for getting as far as they did.
Photo Laurence Stein
Day 1, Task 1, Sunday June 6, good climbs
The forecast for today has wind from the South West and possible showers. I expect some over-development and big clouds. Hopefully we can get a task going North... lets see.
The task was set as a 34km elapsed time to Aspres Airstrip. 12:20 launch open, then a start cylinder of 4500km from Orpierre B06, then Orpierre, then Savournon B49, then Aspres antennas B02 and in to goal at A05.
Many were ready to go as the launch opened and the slow climbs lead to some congestion around launch. Gradually the gaggles rose and flew over the back. The sky was fairly cloudy and Orpierre proved to be trickier than normal. The clouds were building but the climbs were weak. The leaders were taking the second turnpoint, they were ready to go to Aspres from the South. But there was rain approaching Aspres from the West so the task was stopped at 13:20.
Fred Angrimer on his Ozone Addict 2 managed 18.7km to win the day, with the whole field following close behind. If not for the rain there would have been a lot in goal, but we had no choice.
Photo Laurence Stein
Day 2, Task 2, Monday June 7, late thermals
The forecast is for wind from the West or North West. The probability of storms is low but we are expecting some high cloud. Lets hope there are thermals. Most likely we'll be flying from Bergies or Buc near Sederon village.
Well what a day it was. Even though the forecasts (most of them) said there would be some North in the wind, there wasn't. We got to Bergies and briefed for the task but then the wind turned Westerly and we couldn't launch. So the comp moved to Buc... some by bus and some walked. The walkers nearly beat the buses and were raving about the lovely countryside.
The task was set to fly back to Laragne Camping with the window opening at 16:15. The sky was bright, but with cirrus and a little wind from the West. The first third of the field launched early and it was clear that thermals were hard to find. Most of that bunch went down, but a couple managed to hang on waiting for the sun. Those that waited on the hill were rewarded with some sunshine, launched, and a couple of gaggles formed. It wasn't easy. As what was left of the field approached the half-way mark, there was large over-development in the goal at Laragne. We hung on as long as we could, but the task had to be stopped before anyone could get to goal.
The winner of the day was Mark Graham on his Axis Vega III getting 15.2km and one of the early launchers. Second by 100m was Eugen Moldovan on his Ozone Mantra and third Chavert Ter Maat on his Nova Tycoon. Fourth was Thomas Charlier aboard his EN B Niviuk Hook... well done.
Photo Laurence Stein
Day 3, No Task, Tuesday June 8, South wind
Today looks like the wind direction is from the South, which is ideal, but the strength may be a problem. I imagine we'll be going up to Chabre.
We did indeed go up to launch. The clouds were low and numerous. The wind on launch was variable but launchable, but on all of the peaks around the weather stations were saying the wind was too strong. Reports from the valley were saying 30km gusts. These reports and the low cloudbase and lack of thermals made us cancel the task and allow free flying. A handful of pilots flew and demonstrated that it was soarable, but then very windy coming in to land. It was a good call. Most of the field left their gliders in the buses and walked down.
Jocky and Alain Zoller (Air Turquoise) did a talk on reserve deployment and testing of reserves and harnesses. The marquee was full to the gunwalls.
Tonight is the ever popular Pizza and Paella night in Ribiers.
Photo Fabrizio Cavadini
Day 4, No Task, Wednesday June 9, South wind
There will be many sore heads this morning; many people drinking to the weather gods and eating pizza for France. What a fantastic night dancing in the village square in Ribiers. The Swedish did some national gig thing which was certainly bizzarre. Alas, I don't think it will keep the wind speed down.... briefing at 9:30.
The day has been cancelled.
In the morning Alain and Randy from Air Turquoise did a brilliant reserve repacking demonstration on three random reserves. Most would have opened fine!
The activities were well attended. with buses to Gap, or the famous via ferrata at Le Motte De Caire, climbing at Orpierre, canoeing or go-karting.
The most popular, with three bus loads, was canoeing. No disasters but you know what those pilots are like. The via ferrata was also popular.
Ed's talk on 25 years of flying in the Himalayas last night was great, and again the Marquee was full to the brim.
Photo Jos Vermeulen
Day 5, No Task, Thursday June 10, More South wind
Well it looks like the weather gods are not interested in our sacrifices. Today we have strong wind again, very unusual to have such strong wind from the South.
We had another two buses going canoeing, two going walking around the volcano (St Genis) and a bus going on the via ferrata.
In the evening David Dagault told us how to fly 333km from Col De Bleyne in Southern France to the Rhone valley in Switzerland. He was then joined by Mike Cavanagh (the Ozone boss) for the Ozone question time. Another good turn-out.
We are really hoping for a task tomorrow.
Photo Ed Ewing
Day 6, Final Day, task cancelled, Friday June 11, Less South wind
We are waiting for the weather forecasts. We'll choose the best one. Its likely to be a run to the North, probably Aspres airstrip, put it in your gps!
Top paramotor pilot Mathieu Rouanet gave us a morning demonstration of how to chuck yourself around the sky on an Ozone Viper 2 and a Mantra R10! Is this the first time an R10 has been looped with a paramotor (as opposed to without one)?
We went up the hill and it was howling windy but sunny. After a couple of hours the wind had dropped a little but the sky was totally full of cloud. It was decided that there was no chance of a task and the day was cancelled.
Task reports by Mark Graham