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Region 11 North-Montague - Day 4 Report by 43

Day 4 report by "43" Martin Grant

I had always believed that I might have a small home town advantage in
any competition in Northern California, as I had studiously learned where the Montague house thermals were, practiced
glides to benign areas, and noted common energy lines along the ridges west of
the Airport. And it usually worked beautifully, - except for today. The
forecast was for a dry air mass to flow in from the
east, damping down convection and any possible chance of cumulus. At the task
setting meeting, we were skeptical of the RASP and
the other cross country forecasts which suggested that after a late start, blue
thermals would be evident along the ridges surrounding both the Scott and
Shasta valleys.

It became clear to Rex that to get any decent distance the only possibilities
were to set a back and forth task using the ridges down to Callahan, back to
the North end of the Scott Valley and using the turn point at Quartz to put
some decision making on the way back North then across to the Shasta Valley at
Grenada, down to the old reliable China mountain then across the valley to the
Southern end of the Cascades for a trip back North to Copco bridge. We then
completed the open class task by turning the Scott Valley Airport and returning
home to round out at 200 miles. It did indeed start late, and both classes
milled around on Forest and the Gunsight ridge in
wide ranging gaggles until both class gates opened and we all set off to the
South. I followed the leaders down the ridge, feeling a little apprehension at
the smooth air where normally one would find good lift. But lift there was, and
as not many felt brave enough to set out independently, there were significant
gaggles both down and back. The thermals became more numerous, but not necessarily better, and never where one would expect them.
It needed a close look at the ground to spot the wind shadows and rocky
outcrops which were producing the lift during the day. A deviation back to
Forest did not pay off and left me low on the return to the Shasta Valley where
I never really recovered until I rounded the corner low down at the East end of
the China Ridge and joined a few other resolute souls in the first reasonable
climbs of the day. Helped no doubt with the realization that this was not the
day to continue with full water and dumping a minute or so from the tanks made
climbing so much easier. And the 3/4 tanks definitely paid off on the long
glide across the valley where I caught up with RV, Peter Deane and others,
clipping the near edge of the Deer Mountain turn. I had just enough height to
remain near the top of Miller Mountain where the conditions rapidly improved
such that it became a glorious run up to Copco Bridge, with enough height to comfortably set off around Scott Valley airport and back
to the finish.

I am not particularly proud of this flight, I went deep into turn points when I
shouldn't have, clipped ones where I should have gone deep, held onto full
tanks far too long, made too many bad decisions at Antelope and only salvaged
it when I had the best wing loading as conditions got good. Great fun!

Posted: 6/14/2013


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