September 2019 Changing winds - revisited
The forecast was for light winds, starting in the East and veering right around the compass through SE, S, SW to West by mid-afternoon, so where else would you go but Parlick, with an eye on the Totridge run before the wind swung too far. It turned out pretty spot on to begin with and the East bowl was fairly busy, without too much height to play with. Murph showed how it’s done with a tenacious trip across the washing machine early on to complete the run. Later as the wind went further South-East more attempted the trip and at least 3 managed it cleanly without a touch and go.
Coming back into the bowl, it would have been easy to head back to the East face take off, but for the warning signs:
· The forecast direction change
· My instrument told me the wind was SSW (I don’t trust the XCSoar wind calculation too strongly, it takes a lot of consistent circling before it makes up its mind)
· The glider field windsock
· A PG not having a good time near the crags
GJ and I headed on a direct line to the showground and enjoyed a very lifty ride; others shot up 3000’. Something was going on. 5 minutes after landing in Chipping, still more or less into a Southerly wind, the trees around us started thrashing violently from the West as the sea breeze (?) switched on. Meanwhile in the landing field there were backwards landings and blow-backs into the wrong field.
As always, awareness of the conditions is vital. Keep asking yourself what the wind is doing; how it compares with what you expected. If a sea breeze arrives at Parlick, it can catch anyone out, especially after a long period of fairly constant, benign wind speeds and directions. The sudden appearance of massive lift suggests a convergence as the two winds met – another warning sign that things are about to change.