Last flight for 2012

Cape Albatros Hang-Glider Club mate Adam and I decided on a whim to head to Porterville on 30 December despite the so-so forecast.  He had a brand new Wills Wing T2 to get to know, having done only one flight on it at the training hill.  I was keen to try some more XC on my trusty Moyes Sonic.  Conditions at Dasklip Pass were good for a launch, with climbs up to about 1500m ASL predicted: not high at all for Porterville in summer.  Deciding that any flight is better than no flight we quickly rigged and took off.  Adam immediately hooked a good climb and spent most of the flight high above the ridge; I struggled low down and fighting hard for the first 20km before getting a good climb to 1400m.  By that stage the topless T2 was well ahead, so I carried on at my own pace and crossed over into the Citrusdal valley at the N7 pass.  I had forgotten to take my hydration pack, and the rough thermals and heat low on the ridge made me dehydrate fast.  Past Citrusdal town the headache and nausea overtook the fun and I took a long last glide from 1700m ASL to land just short of 50km at Constriction – my new personal best.  Adam, in the meantime, was having an awesome flight despite being very new on the glider.  He worked hard most of the way to Clanwilliam and then found a sweet spot in the sky, flying from there nearly all the way to Vanrhynsdorp with very little stopping to thermal along the way, for a total distance of 140km.  A long retrieve followed, but worth every moment!

A couple of GoPro frame grabs:

Airborne on the Sonic, heading north from Dasklip
Airborne on the Sonic, heading north from Dasklip
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Banking in a tight thermal
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Low down on the ridge and not loving it
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Nearing the top of the inversion while climbing over the ridge towards Citrusdal

Unfortunately, I don’t have a tracklog, as my GPS was stolen the day before and the ThermGeek iPhone app crashed just after takeoff (just the app, not me).  However, Adam’s log is here and is far more impressive than mine would have been.  Next time 😉