World Cup 2014 Mina Clavero, Argentina: Comp report

The weather in Argentina produced some tricky conditions with several days lost due to strong winds and rain. The GIN team pilots were Aaron Durogati, Adrian Hachen and Russell Achterberg. Adrian had taken the overall lead after winning task 3, but both pilots then came unstuck in task 4 in the fickle conditions on launch. In the end, Aaron managed 5th overall. 

Here are the task reports:

Task 2

Pilots were greeted with beautiful blue skies this morning, a pleasant change from the cloudy starts they have had so far. The conditions were good early on but the start was delayed due to a strong wind forecast. A 74 km back and forth crosswind task was set to accommodate the south westerly winds expected.

The waiting area at the start was quite deep in the mountains which saw pilots drifting with the thermals. As a consequence the field battled into a vigorous westerly headwind at the start. The day proved to be tricky with many pilots landing in the sink cycles with the task culminating in final death-glide fourteen kilometres to goal as the last cloud evaporated before a blue wind swept plateau. As a result the majority of the field landed within 3km of one another.

A lengthy recovery followed. Adrian Hachen, Aaron Durogati and Russel Achterberg are currently the pick of the Gin pilots all featuring in or near the top ten. 

Task 3

A blue sky day meant facing the prospect of trying to find lift without markers today

A 76km task was set along the mountain ridge with four start gates at ten minute intervals. At first inspection the start gates seemed to be a novelty, but they turned out to be essential.

Wind was light and variable at the take-off with almost no good climbs out front. 

The launch is proving to be difficult with long waiting periods and a scarcity of thermic cycles.

Roughly ten pilots took the earlier start gate with the majority of the field waiting for the last gate with a third of the field where still trying to get up and across from start. Most pilots were hoping for better conditions later in the day. In the mean-time the main gaggle was able to get up to 2800m which is about 200m above the mountain plateau.

Most of the top contenders including Aaron, Adrian and Maxime started the long ridge race. The first 15km accelerated with the wind helping to blow pilots down the mountain ridge before darting out from the ridge to grab the first turn point. The conditions got rough. The wind was now blowing firmly down the hill near the top and up the gullies and spurs when low. Combine strong climbs and you have really trashy air in places with some really strong thermals deep in spectacular mountains!

Almost all pilots started the glide into the plane very high after the glide contest the previous day. Fortunately for those patient enough to climb in lighter thermal goal was a certainty. A number of pilots in the lead gaggles continued to race too hard landing short of goal.

Adrian Hachen was well positioned and made the right moves to take a few minutes out of the other contenders. 

Adrian and Aaron are leading the Gin charge for glory. Both pilots have put in strong performances each day and are in first and fourth position respectively. They are followed by Russel Achterberg who is knocking at the door of the top ten after a difficult second day.

Task 4:

After a day of rain all the competitors where eagerly up on the mountain under clear blue skies. The ground and terrain was thoroughly soaked in the previous days' downpour so a low and slow day was expected. 

The task seemed simple enough: 60km down the ridge, out into the flats, back to the airfield, fly 6km out in any direction and return for goal at the airfield. Getting up after take-off was treacherous and today claimed some of the top performers including Aron and Adrian who were among the 15 odd pilots visiting the turkey patch.

Those that managed to gently float higher and over to the start started fast running the ridge under an isolated clouds street before having to make the break from the corner into the flats. That is where the scratching and desperately low saves began.

The lead gaggle took the tiger line back towards the airfield after tagging the turn point in the flats. Desperately low the lead gaggle scratched before most of them landed out after about 50km.

Some pilots chose to fly back to the mountain and follow the mountain back towards the airfield. it paid off for those with the patience and belief.

Only three pilots made goal today. Perhaps luck counted more than skill today.

 

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