New Site Record!!!

Whitesheet – 10th August 2013

The forecast wasn’t great but suggested westerly with a slim chance of xc so I dragged a few fellow Skysurfers along to White/Brown Sheet for a crack. I sent my wind dummies up who confirmed that yes it was a brown day so I decided to see if it calmed down whilst I ate my lunch. By about oneish we had convinced ourselves that the gusts were more sensible and the sky now had a bit of blue in it. Nick Warren and I took off and after a couple of beats of a good kicking we appeared to be going up. Rough and small it was but we both circled each other and hung on for dear life.

We both arrived at cloudbase (Nick for the first time) and I set off for the next cloud with Nick at my side. The cloud produced a broken climb that was a challenging battle of up and down. I was slowly building height but Nick had had enough and flew on. He found something better that got him back up to my height and we both headed onwards. The sink was very bad so when I found some zeroes I hung on for dear life. At this point Nick pushed on and eventually landed for around 15k on his very first xc, bloody excellent in these conditions!

I was spinning around on my own at around 3000ft passing to the south of Salisbury when I spied a building cloud and made a fast glide thought the sink. It was text book stuff and got me back at base. The next couple of thermals zoomed but I was getting pushed towards Southampton airspace.

I didn’t think I would get anywhere near this far so I hadn’t been making an effort to clear it early. I took a thermal right to the edge of the airspace (LK8000 on the gps I bought off of Ruth was excellent for this) and then pushed north and up wind towards the nearest cloud. I found a nice strong but rough climb, well it found me! I was pulled in so hard I had to bury the brakes to stop the surge and then it was straight back into the roundy roundy until the airspace got in the way again.

I was making progress north and eventually squeaked round the airspace to the A303/M3 junction. On the home straight now I had two choices, a fairly close cloud over Popham airfield to the north or a cloud with a sailplane climbing under it further away but directly downwind.

Not wanting to risk getting low over a really busy Popham I headed off to chase after the sailplane. The vario started playing its sad song so I got on bar to clear the sink as quick as possible. Unfortunately it didn’t end until the ground got in the way. I tried for a valiant low save over a tractor but the wind was ripping the thermals to shreds. I spied a nice green lawn next to a massive manor house but thought better of it and picked a recently cut field and put down for a no step landing.

I was collected by a friendly farmer who dropped me at the entrance to the farm (probably just wanted me off of the farm) with instructions that Basingstoke was 8 miles north and Alresford was 8 miles south with no mobile reception and not a lot in between! Apparently I had landed on Preston Farm, owned by Lord Sainsburys!

After a couple of miles of walking down a national speed limit road with no path I decided to knock on a door and a kind couple let me use their house phone to call Nick for retrieve. A few hiccups and a couple of calls from a phone box and he eventually found me! Ended up being 74km which is my personal best and a new Whitesheet record. I still can’t believe it really happened, feels like someone else was flying.

TracklogĀ http://www.xcleague.com/xc/flights/20132566.html?vx=28

This one can display the airspace so you can see where I got stuckĀ http://www.xcontest.org/world/en/flights/detail:dukeofted/10.8.2013/12:39

Richard

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