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Ms Palindrome blog
#1

9th Jan Bryncaws. Light breeze off the hill on arrival midmorning. Groundhandling, reverse launch, a couple of beats and slope land by cars below mast. Reverse launch and long flight with 14 others, half of whom land because they are cold. I boat around in my thermals for a while longer, as high as the mast, and practise scratching up from below the launch to above it, then find that I am the only one to bottom land today, the field has just been manured, thanks Stevie for the retrieve, reverse launch from top to shelf, it's going off now, we wait in hope for the magic lift, but the front of slope is in shade now, so one last reverse launch, a few beats and land by the car for easy packup, not too far to carry kit. A good hour airtime today, plenty groundhandling, nice to see the usual crowd. A great day, until I drove over a large boulder and set off the airbag, seatbelt tensioner and tracking in my new car I got last week. This is only it's second outing. I cry briefly, being a girl, and book it into the garage first thing monday. It steers like a pig all the way home, and I can't use my seatbelt. Thank goodness Gerry is picking me up for Marros tmz!

I may as well try to catch the wind - Donovan
#2

13th Jan Rhosili. Arrive midmorning to find it 18mph on pimple, try the beach for groundhandling, very soggy as the tide has only just gone out, watch the others trying to launch from the beach and decide to go back up to the pimple.  At around 2pm the windspeed dropped to 12-15mph, and I wait for the cycle. I move to the front of slope as it's a bit much further back, reverse launch and whisked aloft! A definite drift backwards, gaining height, quickly out with the speedbar, cautiously at first, then advice on the radio says "full on!" so there I am standing in the crucifix position, going up and back but more slowly than without bar. I would like to topland but it's just a receding dot, I get off bar and weightshift and brake left over the field behind the Gallery, there are no sheep there today, so land without mishap. Thanks guys for helping me over the fence with kit. I detangle lines, turn around and the glider is flying off on her own! That means its gone stronger, not weaker as predicted, and I head down for a coffee. The Worm's Head is closed for refurbishment, and at 3.30 I see the three guys take off in perfect formation, I gaze wistfully from the churchyard, knowing that by the time I climb back up with kit it may well be too late. There is a grey claggy mess advancing from the sea, inversion? and the sun is getting low. 5 mins sheer excitement today. 

I may as well try to catch the wind - Donovan
#3

11 Feb. Rhosili, 8-10mph up top on arrival midmorning. Trying out my new lightweight harness, spent half an hour hanging up indoors tweaking straps to fit. Gerry and the army are there so no worries. Thanks for helping to tie on speedbar Gerry. A practice inflation has me running after the wing, the difference in handling is noticeable, lack of weight in the harness means less resistance, in fact it's like wearing nothing at all!  Move to the edge for a reverse launch, smooth pull, turn and load what little there is of the harness, and whoosh! the fastest lift I ever had here, drifting off to the side while I wriggle into the seat, mustn't wriggle, it makes the wing bobble!  I try to penetrate forwards away from the top, which is well below me by now, speedbar for half a minute, then cautiously weightshift to left and right, yawing and climbing still higher, she's so responsive! It's bobbly all right, I try the active flying thing, and bingo, she goes faster! It's a bit scary so I go for a pimple landing, but shoot through, another pass along the face, try and sctatch up to top, but I'm too far out and sink towards the white house, decide on a beach landing now that the tide is well out, go for the driest bit near the steps, and touchdown neatly. Can't believe its only 8 mins since t/o.  I gleefully trot back up, retrieving the flask of tea from the car for added ballast. It's so light to carry! Should have gone lightweight before now.  From the pimple this time, reverse launch, nice lift over the cleft, a good 40 mins getting the feel of how she behaves, fantastic height in much smoother air, a couple of cautious bigears, and a sweet landing on pimple. It makes me laugh out loud! A great day, shame I have to leave early.

I may as well try to catch the wind - Donovan
#4

15th Feb Rhosili, arrived too early, the top was covered in fog, so went to the cafe, Rob and Tina, Stevie G, Jared, Gerry, Michelle, Reech and Chris Williams all there. Gerry and Cookie got away first from the top, but too windy for me, so join the back of the queue from the pimple, reverse launch and gain some height, but can't get forward and end up on speedbar, eventually land without mishap a few hundred feet behind the top, walk back to pimple and reverse launch in what I feel to be a managable bit of the cycle, get blown back again, this time landing in field behind pimple. I feel that without the reserve attached it makes a difference to the handling, Chris points out that I could still have it on board for ballast, and get it attached when Nick gets back. Genius. 15 mins of fun today. With the visiting Poles from London there were 20 there today.  Stevie chased them off the raised beach, where they had planned to groundhandle.

I may as well try to catch the wind - Donovan
#5

16th Feb. Rhosili. Arrive lunchtime to find several hangies patiently on the pimple. Their windsock is showing a light wind, slightly variable.  By the time I rig up it's come round more on. A practice inflation seems smooth enough, so I turn and push off, it seems like hard work, and I end up in the gorse in front.  Sheepishly mushroom up and start again, Gerry explains that I hadn't quite got it over my head, so that's why it was like pulling a train!  It's still a bit light, a nice patch of orografic clinging around the top, so I reverse launch from pimple, head north, climb a bit towards the top where others are already airborne, come as near as I dare to the face in an attempt to scratch up, and see 2 guys on the slope below me.  I've been dumped here before, so push out and turn back for a pimple landing, but  the nice wide margin I've left tips me out the front of the lift band, it's nil wind lower down, not enough to even make the beach, I just get my legs out in time for a somewhat inelegant downwind landing on the track, where I can cause no damage to the site, and pack up in between the cowpats. 5 mins. Soundly berated on the radio by Stevie g, but it was an emergency landing, honest!

I may as well try to catch the wind - Donovan
#6

19th Feb. Rhosili. Arrive lunchtime to find it a bit light. Walk up to top and it's perfect. 2 club members there.  A smooth reverse launch, into harness and away, a glance all around to check all's well, there seems to be a huge bit of undergrowth in my lines, and looks knotted!  The A's are all clear, so I cautiously pull the outer A to see if it will pop the lines straight. It doesn't, I'm still above and in front of the top, so reach up and pluck them like a guitar, one at a time from the D's forwards, and that works, I beat back and forth keeping in front of the orografic cloud which the ridge is wearing like a scarf, the others are flying above it and below it, I'm comfy in my harness, though the front mounted reserve seems a bit in my face, and I have a fairly active 45mins working the liftband, enjoying the feeling of staying up for a good while, makes a nice change from my recent t.t.b's!  I'm forced to land when I see the other's packing up, though we could have flown for a while longer.  It's fun trying to approach the pimple as I keep going up not down, but with several S's, various hand signals from below and a bit of speedbar I gently touchdown accurately, and smile all the way home.

I may as well try to catch the wind - Donovan
#7

20th Feb. Rhosili. Arrive midafternoon to 0-5mph. See 2 up top practising inflations. Do the same on pimple, they take off and gently descend to beach.  I reverse launch, beat a few times, realise it's a t.t.b. for me too, and nicely touchdown nearest the steps.  That makes me spot landing champ for today! Halfway back up we see Nick launch, climb and enjoy a nice long flight with the whole ridge to himself. Another beautiful sunset. 5 mins.

I may as well try to catch the wind - Donovan
#8

21st Feb. Rhosili. Light wind at midday, lots of people there, those on top get airborne and start to play, us pimple dwellers follow suit a bit later. Plenty of groundhandling first, I'm 3rd off, get nice lift over the gully, and enjoy a good half hour before the wind picks up, everyone moves out over the beach, I can't get forward in spite of speedbar, so choose a clear green patch amongst the gorse and accurately put down without mishap.  Tina does the same, and a few Poles, the others go for the beach. A busy day, with only a narrow window in which to fly. I pull the front mounted reserve handle by mistake, and it's game over for today. Thanks Nick for replacing pins and lines, look forward to the repack.

I may as well try to catch the wind - Donovan
#9

15th March. Fan G. Very light on arrival late morning. Reverse launch at 12.30, a nice boat about, gaining several hundred feet, exploring the lift band, and bottom landing in front of the hill after a good half hour.  Thanks Nick for retrieve! Trudge back up and find my old instructor Jerry there, nice to see Victor too. Reverse launch, a few beats in front and above, methinks it's a good time to try a toplanding here, and do one. Reverse launch, the wind has moved around a bit, after a few beats I find I'm in the lee, and sink into a slope landing not too far from the top this time!  I think maybe one more flight will be enough, but as I'm setting up I see Nick get dragged back quite a way, and decide it's time to pack up for me. 45 mins airtime today.

I may as well try to catch the wind - Donovan
#10

19th Mar. Lijak, Slovenia. 1950 amsl. SSW. Thermo-dynamic at t.o.  Nice reverse launch, push straight out into house thermal off rockface in front, circle and climb a.t.o then beat along the ridge practising coring every time the vario bleeped faster.  From t.o 1 to turnpoint 3 and back, 3 km there and back, 35 mins of active fun and 2 km from t.o to LZ with plenty of height to S off on approach. It's like coming home, with a new snack bar Nyam Nyam run by Igor the driver. Cuppa tea then back up for another reverse launch push out and turn left along ridge, it's a bit more gusty than this morning, so climb and circle in every bit of usable lift, more height and 8 km distance from t.o. In sink I use the honey-drip method to visualise where the next lift might be, or go to ridge, every knoll and warm rock gives lift, and big sink too in the big gap after turnpoint 5. The others go XC over the back, I want to follow but they are on the radio chatting about landing by a pub, so regretfully with 5100 on the vario I turn back to the LZ which I seem to have lost sight of! I play for a while over the villages at 4500, following the ribbon of road, admiring the church perched halfway up the ridge face. Cruise in and out between road and ridge, the Adriatic sea to left, Italian Dolomites ahead, Austria on right and Croatia behind. At last the haybales on LZ are visible, I drift over the Peugeot warehouse for any last lift but there isn't any, I cross my legs in the hope that I miss the power line across the field, and with plenty of height  I 360 and come in for a box approach this time. Wind sock out, big lean out and land like a butterfly, trot forward a few paces with wing overhead, nice controlled collapse by the sock, spot landing champ for today! Best flight of my life, for height, distance from launch 7 km, airtime 1 hr 35 min. Prompt pack up and watch a 50mph gust blow in and rain from the comfort of Njam Njam.

I may as well try to catch the wind - Donovan


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