14th FAI European Paragliding Championship 2016: Day 10 - Task 8

Semih Sayir reports on Friday's task 8:

The competitors were looking all relaxed and ready to fly hardcore after the rest day. It’s the last 2 tasks of the comp and you never know exact changes on scoring with FTV discards.

So we all have to fly our best to get better results.

We fly more and more in the gaggles and it becomes unbearable in some cases. My constant experiments to beat the main gaggle haven't always worked too well. At least on 3 counts, I landed short on the ESS without passing the physical line.

Anyway it’s a new day and I have to try harder!

Task committee decided to run 71.5km task in the flatlands because of the risk of thunderstorms. The start was not too bad this time with several gaggles placed on start cylinder! Nobody pushed out to get close to start and the flatlands seemed to not have started working yet.

We started pushing to the first turn point more less 10 of us! It’s just a perfect size for small gaggle. All slow long glide, is this going to work? With the fear of long glide, gaggles started to come closer and use the first lift possible. And there we go. We are in the gaggle of 80 pilots again… it's just boring, useless group psychology is leading us to inescapable whirl.

There is only one way to fly comfortably in the groups.., you have to push ahead and use the best lift to get above to get more space to turn freely. I did that. That constant fight to use best part of the lift, makes us like savages. Gentlemen ship and fairness is all left aside. When I had a good position after first turnpoint, I made an attack to the next trigger point slightly off the course alone. I had trouble finding the core as quickly as possible, that’s why the big gaggles work better. In the end, I did converge with the big group again and fly towards the second turnpoint. This time there were a few pilots in front of me.. it was easy to see the lines and float through it. After the turnpoint I had caught up with the lead group and had the best climb of the day averaging 5-6 m/s. Guys had already left towards to last turnpoint and I was thinking, "No, you can not leave 5 m/s lift to catch those guys..".

So I climbed a little more and followed a different line from the leaders. Only that decision put me up 200 m above the leading group. We took the last turnpoint and entered another strong thermal right after it. I got in above and made a couple of turns and left the climb early..! 4 of us left immediately and pushed forward and started following lines without turning. I have a good feeling with my glider to find and use those invisible lines in the air. I flew without a single turn, just changing the angle and floating trough the lift. One turn in the thermal will put you 70-80m back and it's impossible to close this gap with the speed bar! So good gliding technique is essential in high level comps.

I arrived in 6th position, 22 seconds after the day's winner, Joachim Oberhauser. Female winner was Seiko Fukuoka Naville came in four minutes after us.


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