2016 Paragliding World Cup - La Réunion - Task 1

Andre Rainsford reports on the first task at the World Cup in La Réunion, which, by the way — he won!

"From the heart of Haute-Provence near the Côte d'Azur to the balmy blue waters of La Réunion. This is the privilege of world cup pilots. It is hard to believe we are actually competing on a tropical island. The goal fields are on the beach and turnpoints are out-to-sea. Most competitors landed at goal on a day that locals claim to be as good as it gets. 

A seventy kilometer task comprising of two legs to the north and three to the south was set. The racing was hard and fast against the terrain at the start to the south which concentrated the entire fleet in tight formation all the way back to launch. From there we ventured north onto a relatively flat section of the island. The field fractured into three groups as defined by the line of choice.

Returning from the northern turn point saw some nervous moments for many pilots as we pushed back over the Trois Basin gorges en route to Piton south of st Leu. The last turn point was at la Souris Blanche west of Trois Basin on the beach which required a measured glide into quiet air followed by a desperate scratch on the cliffs. The rest of the race was a romp home in good air for most.

A peculiarity of flying on La Réunion is that you are almost always in close proximity to the terrain which requires close attention at all times. Every thermal is marked by a gaggle of exquisite Tropic birds except for the stronger ones which were shedding sugar cane debris from top to bottom.

A great day for Gin Gliders with Andre grabbing the win followed closely by Pierre and Michael."


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