||We are grateful to the Mayor, the local paragliding school & the people of Castejón de Sos for helping to make this event a success.
Local information including town maps & items of interest can be found on the town hall website: www.castejondesos.es
A windy forecast saw all pilots on the hill ready to start by 12:30 and already at cloudbase. When there were clear bits the true height of the cumulus could be seen, they were huge!
A 46.7km task was set via
4 turnpoints and the task put on hold for improving conditions. They never happened and the task was cancelled at 16:00. The majority of pilots flew down with mixed reports of good and ugly conditions. Obviously those who didn't fly down were staying hungry for tomorrow.
Day 2, Task 1.
We woke up to the same strong winds as yesterday, but more blue sky than white cloud. The forecast said the wind would drop, but with a very high risk of storms in the afternoon. A short, straight 46.2km race to goal was set. The early GROUND START at 13:00 was spectacular, with 106 pilots launching in 10 minutes.
The task took us across 4 significant valleys, under a cloudbase barely above the high peaks around 2500m. At the half way point the field divided; the brave taking the more Northerly high route and the rest taking the more comfortable low route to the South. The last ridge (1700m) stopped around 20 pilots as the valley winds started to get a grip.
With just under half the field in goal and the rest liberally scattered around the slopes, retrieve was effective. Now we await tomorrow's predicted front in the bar, waving our arms around and drinking to the weather gods.
Day 3 After an intense night of thunder and lightning the front passed early. Up to launch by 12:00 with a very low optimism because of the congested clouds and dreadful forecast; predicting storms and horrid stuff.
After deliberation, a 43km cats cradle was set, and a ground start (mental) at 14:05 got us underway, with a 2400m cloudbase... 200m above launch! Imagine the scene: 106 gliders going backwards and forwards and none allowed in cloud! The fastest pilots were on their way to the fourth turnpoint when rain (and the associated CuNims) stopped play. More than 50 pilots were fished out from the valley at turnpoint 3: It was a very sociable day.
Tremendous thunderstorms overnight, and they didn't clear throughout the day. At the 13:00 rebrief the day was cancelled. Some pilots went to fly and some of them got drenched! The first snows of winter were on the peaks.
Day 5 Task 2.
Blue skies and a light northerly forecast; not the best wind direction for the area. Everyone was ready by midday, and a 66km ground start race to goal via three turnpoints was set to go at 13:30. Very cold air suggested strong climbs in the lee... we were not disappointed! Fizzy thermals until the first turnpoint spread the field significantly and the head wind to turnpoint 2, across the valley and over a coll decked quite a few more. That was the easy bit! Third turnpoint in the valley proved testing, and the final leg to goal over high flatlands saw challenging weak thermals. 31 pilots made goal.
Day 6 Task 3
A very clear night saw a frosty morning with light northerly wind again. A 66.9km ground start race to goal was set via 3 turnpoints, starting at 14:00. The field were off quickly but stable conditions with bullet thermals split the field again. The first turn point was down a windy valley, making it very difficult to get out. The inversion never really broke, staying at around 2400m all day. No pilots made goal, but the top 6 got past the last turn point, falling just short of a gnarly gulley just past Grist.
Day 7 Task 4
A slightly warmer morning with clear blue skies, more light Northerlies and those inversions again. A
54.5km ground start race to goal via 3 turnpoints was set to start at 14:00. The stable conditions saw half the field off all at once and the rest launching in dribs and drabs for around 45 minutes. The early thermals were bullets and the inversion persisted at around 2300m with pilots breaking through only occasionally. By the 18:00 goal deadline the thermals were weak and the day finished quickly. 65 pilots made goal which is a British Open record.