Super Brazil

So I got an invite to the PWC Superfinal after some reasonable comp results in 2016; it is the highest ranked competition of the year.    I have always wanted to go to Brazil so 2 weeks of competition in Governador Valadares in January escaping from the Scottish winter with Jules, Russ, Idris and Guy  was an attractive option.    We flew 10 tasks of between 80 and 110km (3-5 hrs each day) plus two practice days.     The first half had a relatively low base and weak conditions but things turned on nicely for the later tasks with climb rates up to 5m/s and fast racing.  The last 98km task was epic with a bit of everything including 28kph of headwind for the first bit of the task.

On day 6 I forgot to put my glider on the lorry in the morning before we went up the hill.    After grinding up hill in the bus for 45 minutes we arrived at take off on the top of Ibitiruna mountain and I had a sudden sinking feeling.  Fortunately Deo lent me his motorbike for a sprint down the mountain (almost 20 years since I rode one) and back up and I took off just in time for the task.  I wasn't feeling my best throughout the whole comp but persevered and was pleased to finish 33rd overall out of 120.  I still don't feel I have flown well at a PWC event.  There is always next time...

Check out the cool videos below from event videographer Phil Broers.  The action at the 3 minute mark in the second one is about as close as you will ever get to "seeing" a thermal.

So many other places to see in Brazil; I have to go back!

The comp results are here.  And Yassen's brilliant blog and film about the aftermath in Rio shouldn't be missed!

Pic from Philippe Broers

The Superfinal from arvidberg on Vimeo.

World Cup Governador Valadares super 16 task 6 part 2 from Philippe Broers on Vimeo.

Ben Nevis, Climb and Fly Season

Thanks Seb and Mark for a great day out on Tower Ridge and then a tricky take off before flying down to Glen Nevis.  More pics here.

The first steep bit after the Douglas Boulder

Tower Gap

Skinny Longlegs' new Niviuk Skin P - a single surface 16m2 wing which only weight 1.6kg

200km in Scotland - North South Cup

The North South Cup is a delightfully informal comp organised by Jim, Hugh and Jocky bringing together some of the best pilots in the UK.  The comp is mobile and will follow the weather to the best location.   This spring that turned out to be be one our local sites: Tinto in the Scottish Borders.    With one of the best forecasts I have ever seen, 50 pilots set off to a distant goal.   Over 30 people flew over 100km south into Englandshire; 10  flew over 200km with 8 of us in goal at Skipton at 210km after about six and a half hours.   Guy carried on to set the new Scottish record at 217km - previously 154km.      The next step is to do a 200km flight in the Highlands which will be an even bigger adventure.   All we need is the right forecast.  :)

A longer write up of how my day unfolded is here.

All pics from Wayne Seeley

Paragliding World Cup - Portugal

My second Paragliding World Cup was great fun; there were two tricky thunderstorm affected tasks at the start of the week, then some windy and stormy rest days to get us keen, and then two fast racing tasks of 101km and 121km in blue conditions which took the winners 2hrs 34mins and 3hrs 7mins to complete. There is a lot to learn about flying at this level; it was interesting to observe some of the differences in flying styles of the top pilots.    The Brazilians got a big cheer at the prizegiving; they were pushing out front of the gaggles in all the tasks and ended up taking 2 of the top 3 places.  I was lucky that task 2, which I flew badly, was stopped due to rain on the course line and was happy to end up 19th overall out of 120 pilots.
Storm-chasing on T2, pic by Phillipe Broers

Trying hard anyway

On a brief trip to Annecy in France for SIV with fellow Brit comp pilots last week, I had one day spare for free flying.   The SIV didn't go quite as well as hoped (yes I got wet, twice!) but after a poor sleep i got up at 7:30am to re-pack my now dry reserve at Flyeo, patch up my harness and then after a quick croissant, dashed back to meet the others.

Understandably, everyone was a bit tired after two exciting days and most opted to have a chilled morning and a valley flight later in the day.   However, I knew that someone had flown 275km from Col de Bleyne to Chamonix two days previously and although I hadn't had time to check the weather properly it might still be a good airmass today even if the met wind was still from the S; not the easiest direction in the Northern Alps.

So I persuaded Robin, Andrew, Caedmon and Antonio to try Marlens where, on a good day, you can take off at between 10 and 11am and hop round a tricky corner onto the E face of the Aravis.    Getting up wasn't easy but as I got established above Charvin, I was pleased to join a thermal with a green Boom 10 which I half recognised as Cedric who I had met at the British Open in Macedonia in 2015.   

As we topped out the blue thermal, Cedric whistled and pointed NE up the Chaine d'Aravis and I tramped on the bar.   Game on. 

The pictures tell the story better than words.
What a day!   Great flying with you Cedric and thank you Camile for the retrieve.

A slide show is here. Click "i" on the photos if you want to see some captions/place names.

Flight track log is here or download the Google Earth track here.
Other flights done in the area on the same day including Cedric's are here (click on "gps" to see a visualisation).

Looking E from Tete du Colonney to Mont Blanc on the R

Bernese Alps