2017 Paragliding World Cup Pico Do Gavião: Task 5

There was a buzz of excitement on the hill as we prepared our equipment for a task of 108km. The favourable forecast of the previous day persisted through the night with the promise of dream conditions for the task.

The course was to take us on a grand tour around Pocos de Caldas. It was a giant anti-clockwise circle starting to the east before heading north and west along the perimeter of Pocos following the hills that mark the towns' northern boundary.

The start was fast and furious as pilots were bullish about the promise of potent thermals and tall base. The net effect was that, for the first time all week, the gaggle got stretched early with pilots dropping off the bus as the day progressed.

It was interesting to fly over the Pocos take-off which was used at a previous world cup where it rained all week. The launch features an aerial cableway and enormous statue of christ overlooking the town.

The lead gaggle was pretty thin at this time with about 5 of us in front before the racing slowed down allowing the stragglers to catch up. The reason for the slow down was high level cirrus clouds which dampened the thermal activity. It was not until the last turnpoint that conditions improved enough to allow the leading group of 30 or so pilots to complete the task.

Frank and Andre were pushing the pace along all day crossing the line at exactly the same time followed by Yongtae a few seconds back. Andre grabbed the task win on lead-out points with Frank in 4th. That gave the GIN Team a hat trick of task wins, propelling the team into 1st place overall. Frank and Andre are still lying 3rd and 4th overall in the individual contest with both Kim and Yongtae in the top ten.

Photos: PWCA / Philippe Broers


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