After yesterday's Mistral, today looked reasonably good for flying; at 5000m the wind would still be strong, but lower down it looked perfectly manageable. The task was basically an out-and-return to Allos - around 35K to the N. To add a little interest, the start was a 5K exit cylinder around a low, uninteresting peak 10K to the W. There are 150 pilots in the comp and the idea (presumably) was to spread field out, but it certainly made the start tricky.
The window opened early at 12.05 for a 13.05 start; conditions were still pretty weak and pilots struggled. A tricky decision; you needed to do some flying just to make the start, so you couldn't wait too long. I launched at 12.20, and (for the first time here) spent quite some time below launch before working up and heading W with a group of gliders.
All the 150 wings seemed to be concentrated just inside this 5K cylinder. There was some weak lift, but it didn't seem to have an obvious center, so pilots just seemed to circle around fairly aimlessly. I saw a few close calls and then a pilot cut sharply behind me; I couldn't see exactly how close he got, but it felt very close. We exchanged a few choice curses.
The task started and I was happy to see most wings fly off. I followed towards the back of the group, not particularly keen to be in traffic. Most pilots flew in a pretty straight line towards Allos but I stopped to top up on one of the ridges. Then a group of pilots turned back and joined me and I felt vindicated.
We got high and pushed onto the Costa Longue; after the start, this looked like the hardest transition of the task. I'm afraid I didn't pay enough attention and didn't use enough bar on this transition; the result was I arrived last and lowest, and I couldn't quite get established on Costa Longue.
I got back to goal just in time to see the leaders arrive (a first for me). 85 pilots made goal (which is pretty impressive). The percentage of Ozone R10s was also impressive, especially for the first 20 pilots or so.
The rest of the week looks pretty good, hopefully we are all going to have some good flying!