3rd day Sapiranga

A task of 72 km was chosen, this time running east along the mountain range we launch from over to another launch, then heading southeast out into the flats for a couple of pylons, then back to the range, with goal again in the flats.

Wind was coming up the launch as usual, but all the clouds were quartering over the back at a good clip. Fortunately the ridge has a jog in it that faces the wind so we all poured off launch and headed around the corner. The air was incredibly smooth for being parallel to the range. After the start, which I left plenty of room for improvement on, I was in the chase with the leaders a couple hundred meters above and out front. Two or three thermals down range we were faced with a decision-take the turnpoint at ridge height or spend the time to get high enough to grab it and cross the range.

Cruising parallel to the mountain range, Igrejinha launch juts out on a perpendicular finger, placing all of us in direct rotor if we were to come in at launch height or lower. Dozens of pilots dove in regardless of wind and altitude. I decided my chances at survival were much higher with another climb so I turned around to join the tail end of the pack a kilometer behind in a weak climb. We gained enough to come in over the launch about 1000 feet.

The beauty here was that we arrived far enough behind the lead gaggle that they had already grabbed the turnpoint, glided off accross the next valley 90 degrees off course thinking they would beam out on the ridges, failed, and were all gliding back to the base of Igrejinha launch....while the end of the pack was sitting at base there.

Just about this time the seabreeze hit. The next pylon was only 15km or so ahead, but everyone was just gliding to the ground in the 20mph headwind. My group seemed intent and cautious and were all gliding very well, so I stuck with them and we slowly crept toward the turnpoint. One dropped off, then another, until it was me and a lone Aeros pilot. He seemed to have had enough and glided off to land almost on top of the turn, while I stumbled into an unlikely coherent thermal in the seabreeze down low. It surprised me again by turning into 2.5 m/s and getting me back to base. The drift was insane but the glide after was magic, and I arrived at the turnpoint at a couple grand.

I had visions of pulling a Manfred and doing some crazy courseline origami to make the task but after gliding back to the ridges, I was simply stuck in laminar ridge lift at 500 feet without a bump. I landed in a field with about 15 gliders.

Won a day, not the way I had hoped, but in the end it was over 900 points so it put me back in the race.

photos Manuela Sanches

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