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June 2000.

Sunday 25th June.

Report from Craig B:
Emily managed her first flights on The Whites whilst taking part in The Swing Solstice Challenge on The Island. Only landing a couple of times when the air became very busy / scratchy (10 gliders at one point) Big respect to Martin (the dentist) for assistance with launch & Butterfly Paragliding for organising a great weekend!

Sky-godlet #1    Sky-godlet #2

    (PS 28/6/00 - Just found out that we came joint 3rd in the duration part of the comp, we now have a 7 year old sky-god looking forward to her next comp!)       [I'll have to get her to give me some lessons! DD]


Report from Jerry S :
    Went to Monk's Down as forecasted Northerlies. No wind! Managed two very short hops. Pete and Tracy, Peter Robinson, the Eddington Boys, ZZ, Stuart Martin and numerous others also there. Rumours of sea breezes had people packing up and going to the coast. JS went to Middle Wallop to go towing, meeting up with Gary Puhl and Andy Dawson, where a pleasant time was had in very still conditions.


Report from Dave D:
    Went to the I-o-W, had some fun in the weak Northelies on Afton Down .... till I hit sudden sink as I was coming in for a side-landing and gift-wrapped a couple of thorny trees as a result. White cliffs in the afternoon on a gentle SW sea breeze.

Saturday 24th June.

Report from Dave M :
Arrived Bell Hill late (4pm) to find a windy day with 2 hangies in the sky and Jim Coutts going over the back on his PG at about 200 miles per hour. Seemed like a good idea so I kitted up, took off and went straight up. A wave to John Alder on his new toy as he went past and then off over the back (no choice really, I was never going to get forward again in that wind) to bomb out after 5km. A long walk back made me sweat, but gave me time to rethink my strong-wind thermalling technique ("S" turns against 360's) and I got back to the hill ready to bin it and go to the pub.
    Jim had got back from his 3km dash and, although it was now 6.30 pm,  was keen to try again ....  and Gary P was easily persuaded too. Seeing Gary flying (and going forwards... wow!) made me unpack and try again and within a couple of minutes I was climbing out at 10 up, rapidly leaving Bell in the distance as the wind shoved me, my thermal and my cloud towards the coast.
    I reached base at 3700ft QNH and by flying around the edge to the sunny side I continued the climb up the brilliantly lit cloud-wall to 4500ft before pushing off ahead of the cloud, into the blue, cloudless sky between me and Swanage. This 'sunny-side' cloud climbing is something we did a lot of in France and Turkey last year, and gives amazing and exciting views up and along the clouds you are using. You even get real vertigo sometimes looking down the well defined ones! Not sure how legal it is though... 
    On my glide, with the GPS giving a groundspeed of 83kph I knew it was windy, but when I turned and faced back the way I had come the cloud very quickly caught me up. I played for awhile in and out of the fringes, thermalling several times up this amazing cloud to 4500ft where it got a bit choppy, trying to work out what to do next. Although this fantastic convergence line/cloud street/storm/lift factory stretched further than I could see to the east, to the west and south there was only blue sky. I stayed with the cloud until I was over Bere Regis and then had an attack of the collywobbles. The thought of arriving at the coast riding this wind line wasn't one that appealed so I set off on a glide, and for most of the time my groundspeed stayed at a more sensible 55-60kph. 
    Arriving low above the Silent Woman pub in Wareham forest I found a few bubbles of lift that got me high enough to go for the town, and one more tiny climb from the quarry further on got me just enough height to glide across the by-pass, to land in the meadow by the town walls. If a bus had come along then, I wouldn't have made it. 7.25 pm, landing from XC's? Summer must be here!
    By the time I found a pub, called for a retrieve (Oh that warm, smug glow...) and started on my ploughman's supper the sky was full of little cumulus clouds, lit from beneath by the low western sun as the cloud I had been riding advanced slowly towards the coast. "I bet it's still working up there" I thought as I played the 'if only' game with myself, normal after any XC. I left too early. Never leave lift. But then, if I hadn't taken off at all, I wouldn't have got this far. 
    What did I learn? XC is worth it. Even the short flop was worth the effort. I tried, landed somewhere new, (the walk hurt but was probably good for me..) and best of all I thought through thermalling on windy days and how to do it. An hour later it got me away from the hill.
    I went home a very contented bunny. 
    The next day I flew into the fence on take-off at Bournemouth and broke it, so I'm back to normal now.

Saturday 17th June.

Report from Bob D :
Attached is one of the pics I took at the Berwick fete, showing Tracey and Peter King at a magnificent Wessex display doing the hard sell for the club.
    Peter reports several firm enquiries from prospective new members - and this was all done without the help of anyone from the rest of the membership, as nobody else made the effort to turn up. 
    Gee - thanks a lot,, guys and gals! (please note that this remark contains really heavy irony . . .)

Berwick St.John Fete

Saturday 10th June.

Report from David D :
OK - so what other job is there in the world that enables one to be so totally incompetent and inaccurate without being sacked - other than that of weather forecaster!
    If I look at the weather map predictions for Saturday that had been issued each day Wednesday to Friday, and then compare that with the actual map for Saturday - they look as different as the four seasons of the year!
Muggins, here, went to Bell and found the wind was perfect in direction but only 4mph. Keith W and Jeremy O appeared and we all prepared as the wind strength increased, only for it to swing to WSW after we'd scratched a couple of minutes each.
Gary M appeared also - and surveyed the situation - and a couple of HGs drove up the hill with an over-dose of optimism!
    Keith, Gary and myself drove to Ringstead only to find that the wind was 18+ with one HG over the cliffs and another 7 or 8 (all Sky Surfers, I believe) rigging.

Eye in the Sky - May 2000