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Thursday, May 2, 2013

Eurotour F3F Pyrenees cup 2013

The pyrenees cup is organised every 2 years in alternance with the Alpine cup in Briançon. Being end of April, we were expecting the weather to be cooperative, especially because few days before we got sunny weather and very nice temperatures. But unfortunately, a strong depression and rain crossed Europe over the week-end.
I arrived in Laurac on Thursday for some practice. We had the last day of beuatiful weather with Autan wind (south east). We have been able to fly all the afternoon, do some DS, some F3F practice, with the other pilots presents. Wind forecast was tramontane (Noth West) all over the week end with a switching during friday.

for those who don't know this region, there is mainly 2  winds in this part of France: Autan and Tramontane: 

The tramontane is created by the difference of pressure between the cold air of a high pressure system over the Atlantic ocean or northwest Europe and a low pressure system over the Gulf of Lion in the Mediterranean. The high-pressure air flows south, gathering speed as moves downhill and is funnelled between the Pyrenees and the Massif Central. 

The Autan is caused by high pressure moving NE from the Azores or the Eastern Mediterranean to the Baltic. Starting as a damp maritime wind, the Autan is blowing over the Languedoc into the Aquitaine, channelled and intensified by narrowing of lowlands between the Montagne Noir and Pyrenees and undergoes sudden acceleration between Corbieres and the south of the Massif Central.

Both wind can be strong so are good for F3F :)

Friday, we arrived to St Ferriol slope. Sky was grey, and the wind inexistant. We spent the day discussing, flying electro foamies, or quadricopters. We were also following carefully the evolution of the forecast, and it was not really encouraging for the 2 next day. On Saturday, forecast was saying that the rain would stop at the end of afternoon, but with good wind, and on Sunday we could expect a dry day, but with low and cross wind.

The organisation decided to setup the course to do the first flight of the compeitiont around 10am on Saturday, just in case. In fact we waied until 12:30 and suprisingly, the sky cleared, so we have been able to start the competition around 1pm. In fact we got a 5 hours window with no rain to few drops only, good wind between 8m/s to 15m/s with some gusts reaching 17m/s. All day long we had the company of up to 20 vultures flying in the lift, not disturbed at all by the F3F gliders whistling close to them. We managed 7 rounds before the wind shift to north, so too crossed to continue the competition.

Matthieu Mervelet, in a olympic form took the lead from round 1 and never left it, starting to fly with his Freestyler 4 before to damage it a bit at landing and continuing with his Freestyler 3.

Matthieu Mervelet:

After 2 average rounds, I changed gear and followed Matthieu closely, even winning 2 rounds, and flying the fastest time of the competition in round 6 with a nice 33.14s thanks to my Pike Precision loaded with 1.4kg of ballast. Martin Newham (UK), flew his Fresstyler 4 very well to end in third position. Reto Blummer (Switzerland) was waiting in ambush, and ends in 4th position, and Laurent Lombardo in 5th.

Video of the Fastest time:

Saturday evening, we all finished in Limoux for the banquet, hoping some more rounds on Sunday, despite of the low wind announced. On Sunday, we stayed on the slope, under the ligth, then stronger rain until 1pm, before the organiser decides to end the competition and invit everybody to the price giving in the nearest village hall.

Finally we can say that this competition has been short (5 hours only) but intense and we all had great fun. A big thanks to the organiser (Andreas Fricke) and his team who welcomed us with croissants and coffee on the slope, and ran the competition very smoothly.

Results and evolutive ranking (round results can be found here: http://pyreneescup.blogspot.fr/)

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