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May 2000.

Monday 29th May.

    Well - it was almost looking like there would be nothing to report from the long weekend ... unless the title of this page were changed to "Eye-in-the-Mud". But Monday changed all that .........


Report from David D:
As is becoming more than a little frequent - I was on the hill in perfect conditions with nobody else in sight! Only this time I was not going to let it pass, as unwilling as I still am to be out there all on my own.

    Bell Hill just before 9:00 am was perfect - it was just a shame that my skills were not up to making of the conditions what they were generously offering. Gary P, and others, were on Whitesheet - getting blown out - so much so I think there was some wondering if I was phulling his leg when I said that Bell was 8-10 and straight  on to the hill - and several buzzards were giving an impressive demonstration of synchronised thermaling as they appeared to be in competition with each other to prove their skills and "their" thermal were the better.

    Far be it from me to try to show them up - but to join them I was intent. "Dave - it's gusting to 18 here!" came a phone call from Gary just as I was about to launch. "Still 10-13 here, Gary!"
    One hour and twenty minutes later I had set a couple of  personal records (highest climb rate and height ato) - nothing mind boggling - but I was happy.

    During my last minutes I notices Peter S at the gate pondering the situation - and trying to work out from my fledgling ups-and-downs what the wind and thermals were really doing - to the point where he had to try for himself to find out - and immediately showed them buzzards a thing or two as he vanished to somewhere.

    A phone call from Gary while I was in the elevator was ignored - but returned when I got to the ground. "We're sat on the ground!" a disconsolate voice announced. "Just perfect here!" "We're on our way!".

    Dave (?) arrived to demo an FB Booster - and didn't like it's ad-hoc tuck demonstration.

    I packed to go home and get some work done - but in the end hung about for another 2 hours to see if there was anything to be learnt from watching.

    Gary P, Craig, Jim, Robert Dees, Andy D, Dave M arrived as Peter was becoming a dot underneath a distant cloud - launched and (all but Robert) vanished too, leaving Robert, Dave and myself to play on the ridge.

    For me that resulted in another 40mins with only 450ft ato. But I was still happy.

    Peter R arrived and within seconds had vanished - never to be seen again (almost!) along the same route as Peter S.

The wind backed a little west and made it more difficult.

    Stuart M arrived - and was miffed to see Peter R get away - and became more miffed as he missed every thermal - including those that took Peter S off again and one other. (Still cannot remember all the names - but I'm gettting better!)

    Eventually I left after learning that Peter, Craig, Jim, and Andy had made varying distances - none of them very significant - with Dave M and Gary having gone an unknown distance - unknown to me, that is.

    Blasting my way home along the road between Blandford and Salisbury I was casting a whimsical eye beneath every cloud in case there were any canopies shadowing me - only to spy Peter R sat by the road waiting for a taxi after having made it to Cranbourne. (Peter - sorry my car is not "retrieve" friendly!)

    So - what started as a pathetic weekend resulted in my longest report here.

    (OK - hand up whoever said bring back the rain and wind!?)

Saturday 20th May.

OK - so who actually experienced the weather in accordance with any of yesterday's forecasts?


Report from Craig B:
    We had a good day at Barton today 20/05/00 flew the tandem with Adam at first as it was quite windy.. Then Lisa a colleague of Brian's who waited all day for a flight when the wind dropped a bit, big smiles all round and an excellent first flight for Lisa who even flew the wing for about 5 minutes! As the wind dropped we managed another quick 20 mins with Emily before it went westerly and dropped off.


Report from Dave D:
Sitting on Ringstead for a while around 1pm there was nobody about, even though the wind looked fine for HGs - right onto the ridge at about 17mph from SW.  I waited a while and then decided to go and investigate what was decorating the field just above the White Horse.   When I reached the track a departing Jeremy O informed me that it had been flyable but had since become the territory of a couple of HGs.

    A break for some lunch saw the wind drop from 15+ to around 10mph - so back to Ringstead. I sat there for about an hour with wind between 10 and 12, and eventually departed for White Horse when I spied PG activity there.
    As I reached the field the HGs were in the process of leaving - that was a good sign! (Nothing personal, guys!) On the hill were Jim, Gary and a couple of others who all eventually launched in limit conditions .... too much for my sluggish Harmony and few hours under my belt. Although - with so much space behind to be dragged had that happened, I kind of regretted that I didn't have a stab at it if only to confirm my suspiscions .... that it was too much for the Harmony!
    Watching Ringstead we could see Nigel S working out to the cliffs, so Jim packed and we went over.
    A pleasant 12/14mph smooth wind was running. Nigel and John (I think it was) flew the cliffs to Durdle Door, and Nigel made it all the way back, Jim did a long top-to-near-the-cliffs, so I settled for a pleasant 25 minute ridge soar ......   since all the aeromodellers had departed.


I did hear that Kimmeridge had been great all day, James E and Alan B, amongst others, being there.


Apparently Richard W and Gary P were taking a look at a new Thames Valley site ..... that TV had lost be early afternoon.

Sunday 14th May.

Report from Richard W :
More wind and both Mere and Long Knowl behind   packed. Weak lift in bowl and difficult to work with so many people. A few low scurries over the back but nobody really got away, even the sailplanes seemed to be struggling. Lines of Cu 10 miles to the east and west but dead in the middle. Better conditions further north saw 40-50km XC's from Golden Ball and winch site nr. Cheltenham.


Report from Keith Wright :
Scratchy day at Kimmeridge. Short flights in light winds by Carl, Keith and Seamus (Thames Valley) until lifty orographic stopped play at about 16:30.


Report from Dave D:
The caravan at Durdle Door was shrouded in mist/fog from well before dawn, so after waiting for the promised southerly/sou-easterly to shift things, went with the aforementioned Steve to White Horse. Arrived just as Jeremy O, and friend were getting out of their car. As we walked to the hill the sun gradually faded behind the orographic that was thick enough to obscure all view from the hill. Another 10 or so people emerged through the mist in dribs and drabs (Adrian C, Dave and Fiona B-K, Dave M, Martin F - and others - but I'm terrible at remembering names!), and a couple of fruitless sorties were accomplished by Jeremy and Dave.
When I returned to the caravan at about 17:30, the mist had all gone .... but so had any wind.
At least I got a good start on the season's sun-tan, though!

Saturday 13th May.

Report from Richard W :
Baking hot day at Mere (Rifle Range) and not a breath of wind. Watched a couple of buzzards circle up from middle of valley knowing that there was no way you could get to them. Very hazy and claggy to start with big towering Cu and very little sun on the ground, eventually breaking up a bit and air becoming clearer. Got away at 15.30, 3800ft base and very light drift; massive building Cu, you could see the cauliflower tops shooting upwards as you flew towards them, then fifteen minutes later the whole lot was decaying. 6 knot regular climb and quite quick going. Flew over west edge of Bath but got on wrong (shady) side of building Cu and landed 80ft higher than I'd taken off (dohhh) on top of the downs. Another excellent retreive.... a PG pilot in Bath watched me fly over and drove out to find me..and despite protestations took me all the way back to T/O…. brilliaaant!


Report from Dave D :
Gentle on-shore breeze enabled a few scratchy flights at Durdle Door with friend, Steve-about-time-you-renewed-your-membership-Hill.


I hear that Dave M was active at Bournemouth - even managing a tandem with a 16stone passenger in the light winds.

Sunday 7th May.

Report from Richard W :
Pete S and Richard W enjoyed a couple of hours of playing in weak thermals on Hambledon, not able to get away though and band of thunderstorms from SE stopped play at 17.00.


Report from David B-K :
Went to Portland East to find Craig, Jim, and Richard in the air, and Dave Moores on the take off. Lovely and smooth when we got there, but by the time I'd fluffed three attempts to get off it went all horrible and everyone else went down, due to wave or sea breeze or something like that. Then went to check out White Horse, to find a lonesome Jonathan already there. Conditions never brilliant, but Dave & Craig stayed up a bit flying the tandem (solo, that is). GP also turned up, as did Ron (from Avon, I think), ZZ, Jim and maybe one or two others. DM tested out his theory that downwind landings straight into the slope are a good idea, with varying degrees of success. ZZ also did a good example of a slope landing, not. Nomination for the surgical tweezers award (for removing the thorns)? Photographic evidence may follow. Ended the day with, guess what, a glide to the pub.

Saturday 6th May.

Report from David B-K :
Monk's Down. Also there were Dave Moores, Richard & Gary Puhl. Arrived just in time for a thunderstorm, so retired to Compton Abbas for breakfast. Storm soon cleared up so we went back to the hill. Some flying done, but conditions never got very good. Lawrence also turned up in the afternoon. Finished the day by gliding down to the farm, where DM gained a nomination for the rubber glove award for services to cow-kind. He looked (and smelt) the worse for it afterwards though! Had to find a pub with a beer garden so he could stay outside...

Saturday 29th April.

Report from David B-K :
White Horse. About 15 or so people there in the afternoon, including Keith Wright & Pete Robinson. I counted ten in the air at one point. Nice ridge soaring - mostly 10-12mph getting up to a max. of 15-16 in the afternoon. We also got some useful top landing & ground handling practice in. (I also got some top crashing practice!)