So day two of the Wilderness Wizards hang gliding championships have come and gone. It was spectacular to say the least and one and all nodded their heads in agreement to having flown two great tasks for the day.
It did start with some rain of course, well, a drizzle to be more precise but we were unperturbed and headed to the Map. By 10 all were rigged with not one dangle in sight - heaven! The wind suddenly came up and I having first thought of a speed glide to the bottom decided to allow the pilots to get some airtime. This was something that later on might just become impossible when all the danglers decide to crawl out from under where ever they take refuge at times when there is no wind or if it is blowing a storm. 30minutes elapsed time from the start of your run until your feet touches the ground plus max height gain, plus the dreaded spot - something that has proved to be a slight embarrassment for many of the top pilots. Of course Mother Nature had to throw us a curve ball. Just after everyone got in the air a few clouds upwind along the coast started to produce rain again. This in turn effected the soaring conditions and suddenly it became very light and the pilots had to scratch to stay up. It made for challenging flying and tactful decision making in order to be able to glide in and still make the spot – which most pilots did not make.
On launch again at 13:00 after everyone had a quick lunch. This time around the wind had really switched on and along with that so did all the danglers. I contemplated cancelling the task because of the danger of having a mid-air collision during the pressures of a comp. We all secretly cursed the mother who gave birth to the inventor of this popular inflatable fabric wing. The pilots rigged and we waited, dragging our toes – well at least I did while contemplating a task. Finally the wind was up proper and most of the danglers were grounded so I called it on. One hour elapsed time, max altitude and spot. It turned out to be a great task with conditions dropping slightly towards the end of the time sequence but before the hangies had to battle airspace with the danglers the time was up and they had to go for the spot. I have to say that the afternoon landing efforts where a definite improvement on this part of the contest so far – the calibre of the landings leaving a lot to be desired for at this stage of the game!
The pilots contended valiantly, not just with each other but also with themselves, even if just to improve on yesterday’s achievements. Our early leader was taking things just too casually and lost the lead after task three. Richard “boom” had to make place for Peter van Den Berg. Even in the lower ranks positions shuffled around. Noticeably was the performance of Anthony Divaris who found himself in second place after the first day’s task. Unfortunately he too had to make place as the more experienced pilots started to show their metal.
I have to mention Hanneke and Van Zyl who both, as a husband and wife hang gliding team, did superbly today. Each had their first soring flights which were in the order of one hour and at good altitudes too. Not surprising they were delighted during the customary beer time after all the action.
Well done to the pilots! Really wish you were here! And role on day three of the Wilderness Wizard Championships 2011!