Report World Cup 2012 Krushevo, Macedonia

Joanna Di Grigoli reports from PWC Macedonia…

I arrived in Krushevo over a week before the competition, to take part in the Polish and Ukrainian Open and to train for the PWC. We had 4 nice tasks and I received my Boomerang X on the last day, so I was able to fly it for this last task. I was third female in this comp, so I was very happy about it.

Now it was time for the PWC, most pilots arrived two days in advance and were able to enjoy two training days. Every morning, the day began at 10:30 when buses left for take off. It was a convenient 10-minute drive or a 35-minute walk for those who decided to walk up.

Task 1

On the first day, the task committee set up a 70.3 km task that would take us first to the north end of the ridge, then crossing the valley to the east, then south of Prilep and goal next to the main road between Krushevo and Prilep. Conditions at launch were hard sometimes because it was hard to climb, and even if you climbed to base, you could find yourself low 15 minutes later. My start was really bad and I found myself very low, so I lost a lot of time and now my main goal was to finish the task and not racing. After taking the turnpoint north of take off, pilots had the choice of going through the mountains or taking a more direct, although slower, path through the flats. I chose the flats trying to catch up with pilots in front of me, but got stuck on a little hill and spent 30 mins at 200m off the ground. Finally, I gained about 500 m and was high enough to reach a fire on the middle of the valley, took the turnpoint and climbed to 3200 m on a bumpy + 6m/s. After that, my flying was easy and only stopped once on the way to the next turnpoint, gained some height at the last turnpoint and made it to goal. I was one of the last pilots in goal, but I preferred being last than bombing out. About 107 pilots made it to goal that day and many Gin pilots were among them.

Photo: Martin Scheel | azoom.ch

Photo: Martin Scheel | azoom.ch

Task 2

On task 2, the task committee got a little excited and set up a 95 km task. This time, the start was in front of take off and then we had to go north along the ridge, but not as far as the day before. Then, the course took us south to the flats, then back up north, across the valley north of Prilep and goal again on the main road between Krushevo and Prilep. What the task committee didn’t know was that the wind was going to be stronger than forecasted. We launched and those who were able to climb above the inversion went to 3000 m. I was one of those who couldn’t and again had a low start. The wind was blowing strong from the north and this made it quite unsafe to go to Krushevo low to try to climb. I decided to climb before going to Krushevo and got a little disturbed when I saw a friend throw his reserve. After I heard he was fine, I was able to focus again and climbed. I took my time to climb and was able to navigate to the turnpoint safely, and about 1km before it, I found a strong climb that took me to 3200 m. I took the turnpoint in orbit and began navigating south above the ridge, found my climb again and pushed bar catching the gaggle in front of me. I was confident that the valley was going to work at the turnpoint so I kept going. For my surprise, after taking the turnpoint, some pilots went to the mountains and climbed. At that point, climbs weren’t strong at all and we were flying against the wind. I hesitated and instead of sticking to my original plan of flying on the flats, went to the mountain only to hit strong sink and landed on the foothills. There were no pilots in goal, but some like Semih Sayir and Renata Kuhnová flew 72 km.

Cruising and enjoying on the BoomX

Cruising and enjoying on the BoomX

Day 3 cancelled

The wind was howling at take off and there was not hope for it to calm down, so the day was cancelled and we had a field trip to Ohrid Lake where pilots had a nice day off.

Comp is back on! Task 3

Third task was 75 km long. This time, the start was a big cylinder on the foothills south of Krushevo, then south in the middle of the valley, then into a small valley north of Bitola, then south east into the valley, back east close to Bitola and goal to the south close to the border with Greece. This day, climbing was easier and I had a great start: high and well placed. I decided to attack today and went in front pushing second bar after the start. We were flying towards a very thermic area I knew well before the turnpoint and decided to risk and went in low. A group went higher straight to the turnpoint and my group and me were finally able to climb and caught up with the first gaggle. The leaders climbed a little after the turnpoint and left very low to the next turnpoint. I decided to play it safer and climbed as much as I could before crossing. I kept on attacking and pushed bar anytime I could. I took the turnpoint high enough and flew towards the foothills to go to the next turnpoint. Apparently, the cycle was over so we arrived at the time the thermal was over so it took us a while to climb back up. I slowed down a bit and took the turnpoint, not rushing low (I think I had already attacked too much). Right after the turnpoint, the area was getting shaded and we needed to get to the valley as fast a possible, but I wasn’t high enough and wanted to be careful. Finally, I escaped from the shadow and climbed to take the next turnpoint but I noticed the day was deteriorating and climbs weren’t good anymore. I turned at anything I found, took the last turnpoint and landed about 5 km short of goal. Only two pilots made goal and there were a lot of pilots scattered at that area. Michael Maurer was only 2 km short and Marina Olexina 4 km. I was very happy with my flying on this task and my results. I was now 6th among the girls.

Above goal close to the border with Greece

Above goal close to the border with Greece

Task 4

After the pilots complained that the previous task was one turnpoint too long, the task committee went for a shorter task 57,7 km long. On this day, we had to take the start in front of take off, then southeast close to Erekovci, southwest on the foothills of the western range, and south to goal close to the Greek border. Again, I had a nice high and well-placed start, but took a bad line and had to stop for a climb. After a low save, I finally climbed and continued. I was trying to control myself and not push like a maniac in order to make goal. I calmed down and kept going, found some nice thermals and at a horseshoe mountain called Dupen Kamen, we all found a beautiful climbed to 3300 m. I left at 3000 m trying to gain some time and flew to the turnpoint, then west to the foothills and also found a great thermal, but this one vanished while I was still lower. I took the turnpoint and my hunch was telling me to push further into the hills and climb, but the gaggle had different plans and I didn’t want to risk it on my own, so I stayed with them. With some nice teamwork, we were able to continue. Again, I decided to push and always left the gaggle looking for a better option. It was paying well until I abandoned a weak climb and the gaggle found a better one. They all flew above me to goal while I was still on my weak climb. Finally, I made it to goal, a bit too high, but I made it in. I was again happy about my flying and my decision-making. Adrian Hachen was 7th overall and other pilots like Michael Maurer and Aaron Durogati were on the top 40.

Tobacco and wheat fields

Tobacco and wheat fields

Day 6

Today, the task was cancelled due to overdevelopment, and we all went to land to the goal field.

Day 7, task 5

The day didn’t look promising and the meet director went up to take off to see the conditions. He returned and we went up to launch. A 42.5 km task was quickly set with large cylinders and a route to keep us far from the mountains where it was more likely to overdevelop. This time, the start was at take off and then we had to go southwest of Prilep, to the horseshoe mountain Dupen Kamen, then to a town in front of take off and then goal on the road to Prilep. Conditions before the start were a little tense because clouds were getting bigger and pilots wouldn’t stop climbing, and some pilots (including myself) reported level 2. The task director emphasized the task was still on, and when the start gate opened, the clouds disappeared magically. Conditions were booming and we found nice thermals along the course. I chose a bad line (again) and found myself low with some other pilots. We finally climbed and flew to the turnpoint close to Prilep, then to the horseshoe mountain where things became a bit slower, so I slowed down as well and climbed. Now, I was going to the last turnpoint in front of take off, but the valley was being shadowed by an overdevelopment and the pilots who were behind had trouble staying airborne. I stayed with some pilots and we turned at a weak thermal, we took the turnpoint and they left. I decided not to rush and turned at thermal until it vanished. My gps told me I needed 7:1 to get to goal, so I risked it and went for it. My line was good and reached goal with 100m to spare. Michael Maurer was 5th overall and Semih Sayir 9th. Marina Olexina was 2nd female today. I was happy with my results on this day and thought I’d be 5th on the female overalls. To my surprise, I was 3rd for my first European PWC podium! I couldn’t be happier. It was the world cup with the highest level of the season and I was on the podium and qualified for the Superfinal. An excellent way to end my European tour. Michael Maurer was the best Gin pilot of the competition finishing 25th overall. and Marina Olexina finished 2nd in the European Cup of the PWCA! Well done Marina! My Boomerang X changed my flying and motivated me again, I usually don’t change gliders and go straight into a comp, but this glider gave me the confidence to do it. With the Boomerang X I was able to keep up with the group when I wanted and in thermals I had an advantage as I could outclimb many pilots and turn tightly to take advantage of better cores. Also, it was great to see so many girls flying Boomerang X and I’m sure they’re loving this safe and well performing glider as much as I am.

Photo: Martin Scheel | azoom.ch

Photo: Martin Scheel | azoom.ch

 

 

 

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