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2007 XC-Open Piedrahita

Competition Results  
pdfOpen Class 1 Damien Tuvo - Gin Boomerang 5 (CH)
  2 Godfrey Wenness - Advance Omega 7c (AU)
  3 Paul Tomassi - Gin Boomerang 5 (CH)
pdfWomen Schoeman, Gaynor - Aerodyne Shaolin (ZAF)
pdfSerial Class Nef, Olivier - Niviuk Peak 23 (CHE)
pdfMasters Strasser, Uli - Icaro Ice 2 XC (DEU)


We had a great competition with 8 days of good flying weather and 8 task and no accidents. All pilots were happy - The new competition format of XC-Open was liked a lot and helped everybody to make the maximum out of their flying days.

Finally the two winners Damien Tuvo CH and Godfrey Wennes AU after flying for more than 500 km and 8 days were only 120m or 2 points apart!! A very exiting finish!

See you all at the next XC-Open in Carpinteria, Argentina




Saturday, 08-September-2007    

10:30 Today is our last day and flying day number 8 in 8 competition days. Damien Tuvo did an amazing flight of 116km yesterday and beat everybody else by 414 points. There are 4 pilots now in position to still win this competition. Godfrey Wenness AU, Damien Tuvo CH, Paul Tomassi CH and Martin Müller CH.

Today we will set a earlier last task time at 7pm. The task will be Open distance along a course line towards Arcones along the N-110 highway. We want to have the pilots back soon enough for the scoring and prize giving. The weather forecast is for a classic Piedrahita day with westerly to northwesterly winds of around 10kmh in 3000m and some clouds with base at 3500m.

There is a Fiesta on tonight in Piedrahita and we will have the perfect scenario for the prize giving on the stage on the main square before the music starts to play at 11.30pm.

Task Final Results
1 Gaynor Schoeman - Aerodyne Shaolin (ZA)
2 Peter Bretschneider - Aircross TriAlp (CA)
3 Wesley Manzke - Niviuk Artik (AU)

Best female
1 Gaynor Schoeman - Aerodyne Shaolin (ZA)

Friday, 07-September-2007

21.00: We are still waiting for the Swiss Team. Rumours go that they have flown past the 100 km mark. The day started difficult and many pilots made short flights. Best distance so far by Klaus Günter Eberle DE with 68 km, Thomas Skarpas NO 67 km, Fernando Amaral PT 65km... More news later

11.00: Martin Müller-GIN Boomerang 5 X-Alps CH, yesterdays winner of the task told us how to do it right. The weather looks similar to yesterday with a bit better lapsrate and light northeasterly winds. Yesterday the best climbs were beyond 3000m.
Next briefing at take off at 12.30

Desiree Pansi from Fly de Aar in South Africa has donated 2 vouchers to the 2007 XC-Open Piedrahita pilots for one week bed and breakfast in her nice guesthouse "Potties" plus one free tow per day. We have made a raffle and Frigga has drawn 2 tickets. The lucky winners are Luis Morais from Portugal and Peter Bretschneider from Canada.

See you in South-Africa Luis and Peter, maybe for a Pre-XC-Open in de Aar!

We hope to see a lot of pilots past the 100 km mark today and many happy faces.

Task Final Results
1 Damien Tuvo - Gin Boomerang 5 (CH)
2 Klaus-Guenter Eberle - Swing Stratus 7 (DE)
3 Thomas Skarpas - Advance Omega 7 (NO)

Best female
34 Gaynor Schoeman - Aerodyne Shaolin (ZA)

Day 7 Report by Damien Tuvo
A better day than yesterday, said Steve, but difficult to reach more than 2100m altitude.
Avila, which was our first target for today seems to be very far. Along the ridge to the pass, pilots were fighting to survive.
Paul Tomassi, the first one at the pass had to land far from the road due to lack of thermals.
Thinking that attacking the pass via the small hill before it, was a good choice with this low top thermals and allowed me to jump toward the north faces.
The idea of reaching Avila was left behind when I felt the northerly wind getting stronger.
I wanted to follow the mountains going nord-east, but a bad choice obliged me to jump into the flatland behind the Parameras ridge and to survive with a turbulent,
windbroken thermal.
70km/h on the GPS allow me to reach quickly the next mountain range near Navaluenga.
Nevertheless, the north wind did not give me the opportunity to carry on further east or back west. Then with my best thermal of the day, which takes me up to 3000m (Steve was not far wrong at the end). I decided to use the north wind to push me into the south flatland until the Sierra de San Vincente (Toledo state).
But as soon as I reach the little hill, I found it difficult to reach the top due to strong Westerly wind. Surprised by this different wind, I took advantage of the 3 turnpoints allowed by the task to fly again east.
Lukilly, at 200m above ground I could climb back above 1500m to finish a little glide south as the north wind from Avila was again pushing me.
I landed with sheeps in Aldenacabo. Nice people dropped me off in Escalona where I enjoyed a few beers with the locals waiting for my driver.
A local man told me that about the castle of the town and that it was owned by the second rich family of Spain. Interesting for this little town that I visited by chance.

Thursday , 06-September-2007

20.00: All pilots have reported back, that they are safe on the ground. The best distances we know so far are around 100km. We wait for all pilots to be back for the scoring.

The NE-wind has picked up in the afternoon. There were strong climbs up to 3000m into the blue sky. Most pilots flew towards the Villatoro pass first and then turned around to fly to the east past Barco de Avila and the Tuernavaca Pass into the Valle de Jerte, which is full of Cherry Trees. Godfrey Wenness was leading out in front. We will see if he has won the day again...

11.00: We fly again. The forecast for today looks better than the weather we had yesterday. The inversion might break and there is no wind.
Next briefing on the mountain at 12:30. The task will probably be Open Distance with 3 free choosen turnpoints.
Although Godfrey won 3 days, Paul Tomassi is still leading the competition. In this competition it is really important not to land before 19:30, the last task time. Both leading pilots have achieved that in all 5 tasks so far. A really interesting fight

Task Final Results
1 Martin Muller - Gin Boomerang 5 light (CH)
2 Olivier Nef - Niviuk Peak 23 (CH)
3 Damien Tuvo - Gin Boomerang 5 (CH)

Best female
13 Gaynor Schoeman - Aerodyne Shaolin (ZA)

Wednesday, 05-September-2007

Today we had a task with "one free choosen turnpoint". The weather forecast was for light NE-winds. The going was difficult in the quite stable air mass. The window was open at 13:00. The forecast proofed to be wrong and there was practically no wind at all. First pilots are coming back now at 18:00 to download their GPS's. Paul Tomassi and Godfrey Wennes just came in. Paul had 71 km and Godfrey is celebrating his 3rd 1000 points winning flight with a very difficult 73 km distance.

This was task no.: 5 and as the weather forecast looks like we will have a competition with 8 days and 8 tasks. The pilots are happy and the new competition format of XC-Open is liked a lot...

Task Final Results
1 Godfrey Wenness - Advance Omega 7c (AU)
2 Paul Tomassi - Gin Boomerang 5 (CH)
3 Reynald Mumenthaler - Gin Boomerang 5 (CH)

Best female
14 Gaynor Shoeman - Aerodyne Shaolin (ZA)

Day 5 Report by Godfrey Wenness

Similar conditions to day 4 were forecast but with more east wind. A 1 turn point day was set but as it turned out the forecast was opposite for the first part of the day and a strong west wind was evident. Flying to the Avila pass early and in the lead it looked like a solid wind would take us into the flatlands to the north east. But then suddenly the east wind showed up and a bit of rodeo resulted as I battled to stay up in the flats beyond the pass.
On the way back west the run to launch was tricky and slow but the extra kms made then were worth the effort. The day was quite stable with climbs around 2ms average but the drift made for tricky tactical decisions.
South of El Barco it was obvious the day was almost over just before 6pm. The big mountains didn´t look that inviting so I selected a tail wind final glide into the long SW running valley to gain a few extra kms.
I was sure the swiss crew would hit the high mountains and glide south into the flats to end the day at 7.30 for over 100kms and so wasn´t expecting to win the day. As it turned out only 2 of them did but the air was super stable pea soup and they just glided down for a nice 4 hour retrieve. The difference in the distances was not that much and the hard work I had past the Avila pass paid off.

Thuesday, 04-September-2007    

Today we had more stable conditions then yesterday. Bacause we have a inversion at 2000m.
Blue sky and conditions for running task 4 since 13:00.
Again we choose to have open distance with 3 free choosen turnpoints (OLC style).

provisional Results during 05-September, since some pilots had a long
flight and checking GPS tracks next day in the morning.

Task Final Results
1 Godfrey Wenness - Advance Omega 7c (AU)
2 Olivier Nef - Niviuk Peak 23 (CH)
3 Martin Muller - Gin Boomerang 5 light (CH)

Best female
11 Desiree Pansi - Swing Mistral 4 (ZA)

Day 4 Report by Godfrey Wenness

A few strong inversions could be seen to the north and a blue day with NE wind was forecast. Once again a free to choose 3 turn point day was given which allows pilots to fly the conditions and turn as conditions change with their distance counting along the four longest legs.
Most headed east to the pass to gain a few kms before heading west. Once that was achived I went off the main ridge and had a nice climb in the middle of the valley south of El Barco. That set up a glide to the old glacier near the pass where another good climb provided a run down the cherry valley.
The only convergence clouds in the region were ahead of me but as usual (in my case) they didn´t work. There followed a low spine hopping period which finally resulted in a sunny side climb. The wind in the valley was still light east but I knew that the northerly would kick in again once I got closer to the lake and the north cherry valley mountains got lower. Allowing for that effect the next glide turned south to the flat lands.
The easy soft climbs finished lower in the more stable flatlands but were nevertheless consistent. By last task time I cruised into the national park south of Plasencia where stunning gorges, lakes and vultures ended a nice flight which with another 1.5hrs to sunset would have been around 150kms.

Monday, 03-September-2007    

Same good day as yesterday ... High cloudbase at ~3400+ and good conditions again allow us to run 3td task.
Again we choose to have open distance with 3 free choosen turnpoints (OLC style).
Window is open from 13:00 on , last task time again as every day by 19:30 with a report back time 19:45.

Task Final Results
1 Godfrey Wenness - Advance Omega 7c (AU)
2 Paul Tomassi - Gin Boomerang 5 (CH)
3 Matthew Church - Ozone Mantra 2 (UK)

Best female
22 Khobi-Jane Bowden - Wings of Change Predator (ZA)

Day 3 Report by Godfrey Wenness

The day looked great early with convergence clouds forming on the main range at breakfast ! The wind was forecast to be north east so most were planning a ridge run then a fly down the cherry tree valley to Plasencia. Once in the air there wasn’t too much east in it so a run to the pass was in order to gain a few extra kms before heading west. Conditions were tricky early and as usual many bombed or got very low taking ages to get up again. A few of us flew the valley quite successfully and followed the clouds to the north side of the highway. The lead group with me zig and zagged looking for that elusive lift under the great forming cloud but without luck. Crazy stuff considering we were on rocky hills in full sun under the best clouds in the sky. A few minutes later Oli Nef bombed and the other Swiss on a boomer 5 and I were desperately scratching to get up. A small rough climb saved our day from very low near the highway . I went for the big sunny rocky ridges south of the pass with no luck and was staring down a locked in valley for a landing. Just then a mega rough thermal swooped me up and to the south… a strong north wind pushed me over the main range to the plateau country south and under some great clouds. No chance too come back…so south it was with the wind. Once past the last hills the flatlands opened up and small clouds popped from the usual triggers – just like home (Manilla). The rest was a nice easy fly until the last task time at 147km. Another 30-50kms was easy beyond 7.30pm. Interestingly I had full NW wind in the flats whilst everyone else has East wind in the mountains. The retrieve however was another story…read about that elsewhere on this web site for a good laugh and to see how not to get picked up ….

Day 3 Report by Rupert Rothmüller

This is a day, from the point of view of a pilot, who only managed the first two days to stay within the minimum distance.
On the mountain briefing the wind was slightly north, Steve Ham, the competition director, who is doing a really good job here told us today it should be great.
Well, after take off it was like always a struggle against bombing out. But this time I managed it. So I followed other gliders in the middle of the valley in the direction of Avila up to the Villatoro pass. But even with an altitude of 2800m I couldn't make it over the pass, because the north wind already was quite strong and I risked again to bomb out like another unlucky pilot I saw just in front of me.
So I turned back. At an altitude of 1400m I already thought about landing , as I found a thermal which brought me back up to the clouds. While moving on with the wind along the ridge back to Piedrahita, I saw gliders bombing out everywhere.
So I decided to drift with the wind southward to the 2200m high Sierra de Gredos. On a north-west bowl a large strong thermal brought me from 1700m up to 3700m with 6m/sec in one step.
Than following the ridge westward became more difficult because of the westerly wind. I came to a point, where I had to decide wether to sink northward into a valley full of rocks and trees, or turn over the ridge to the south, trough the leeside in direcction of the Rosalito-lake.
Well this was the marvellous part of the flight. No strong leeside effect one hour smooth glinding with minimum sink and soft tailwind, the lake shining in the late afternoon sun, I landed a few km south of Candeleda.
The worst thing was the retrieve. My unlucky driver had to drive more than 1 hour through the curvy mountain serpentines.

Sunday, 02-September-2007    

We where able to open the window for second task at 12:00.
Today with fantastic clouds, showing us thermals for moderate climbs.
The pilots are on the way right now.
Today we setup a OLC style task. With 3 free choosen turnpoints, again for open distance.

Task Final Results
1 Paul Tomassi - Gin Boomerang 5 (CH)
2 Reynald Mumenthaler - Gin Boomerang 5 (CH)
3 Martin Muller - Gin Boomerang 5 light (DE)

Best female
8 Gaynor Schoeman - Aerodyne Shaolin (ZA)

Day 2 Report by Paul Tomassi

The second day was better than the first day. First lifts were not on the slope but on the flats.
2 pilots took off early and one got lift over Piedrahita, then Jerome Maupoint took off and got good lift in the flats.
Olivier and myself decided to go too... the first lifts were slow, but got quickly better as we went for the pass in Avila direction. Cloudbase at 3500 with apparently fantastic cloud streets towards Avila, conditions were not as good after about 40 km and Olivier landed with me finding very week thermals over his head.
The last 45 min Reynald joined me at the top of the thermal. Avila was very difficult for both of us but we finally got away, and headed back to Piedrahita with conditions getting better as we advanced.
The pass was very easy to fly over, and as it was close to 7pm I headed north to add a few km´s. I Landed at Piedrahita´s official landing about 10 min´s before Reynald, both of us with huge smiles on our faces... 3 Boom´s up front with Martin completing the podium. Reynald and me both had to loose a few km, because we landed after the last task time which was 7.30 pm. Overall: A fantastic day with little wind and climbs of up to 7m/sec.!
Paul Tomassi

Saturday, 01-September-2007    

Under blue sky and smooth conditions we run the first task today.
We choose tu run a Opendistance Task over one free choosen turnpoint.
With the longest distance today 102.7km.

Task Final Results:
1 Klaus Guenter Eberle - Swing Stratus 7 (DE)
2 Damien Tuvo - Gin Boomerang 5 (CH)
3 Werner Schuetz - Gin Boomerang Sport (DE)

Best female
12 Adelaida Sigida - Gradien Aspen 2 (RU)

Day 1 Report by Klaus-Guenter Eberle

After Take off a lot of pilots were struggling in which direction to go. Some went against the proposed wind to the east and the others flew around the takeoff area to search for a thermal getting the maximum height. After the third time to get up to 2500m I started my way to the west with the result, that there was no more lift along the complete ridge. At the end I got a small thermal nearly above ground and together with two following pilots we made it again to the base. From there we three, Damien, Werner and me went on as a good team until the beginning of the higher mountains, south of the "Cherry Valley".
Later on Damien was a little behind of us and we other two lost him out of sight.
As we continued along this side of the valley until it was getting lower, I descided to change to the north side, expecting better conditions on the hills there. After we've got a lift up there, I noticed, that the wind has changed to south/southwest and descided to return along this ridge back to Piedrahita. Finally it went very well and in between Werner was one time below the ridge and had to go over the valley, so I had to continue by my own.
My main goal then was to cross over the pass to avoid a landing in the "Cherry Valley", which I finally achieved with a save landing in a nice green gras beside the road.
I hope that we will have a lot of other good days until end of the next week.

See you in the sky




A short description of the flying area
The small market town of Piedrahita is situated at 1000m MSL 185 km from Madrid, about 2 hrs. driving time.
The main take off Pena Negra at 1900m faces NE and is reached by a good paved road. Pena Negra can be used in 95% of the flying days. The first thermals are working around 11am in the valley.Piedrahita is a ideal place to reach the convergence line, that sets up in centre of the Spanish peninsula in front of the Sierras (see map below). It can extend for more than 300km with cloud bases above 4000m.
The main flying route takes you to the historic town of Avila and further on along the N110 highway.
Site records have been flown by Steve Ham 244km on 04 July 2004 and 280km by Patrice Quillet on 15 August 2004.
Another Piedrahita Special is the flying with storks in the same thermal - amazing pilots these guys.

Visit Piedrahita on Google maps .

If you are looking to join a retrieve team for the Piedrahita XC-Open
use paragliging forum thread contacts
* this thread , to find a place in a retrieve vehicle with driver
* this thread , for pilots who want to team-up and share the driving

Fly Piedrahita Steve Ham

Steve offers a complete package for the XC-Open including: Airport collection and return
Breakfast and accomodation and three evening meals
Retrieve along the specified route of the day Price is 450 Euros

05500 - Piedrahíta (Avila)
phone: 920 360550
mobile: 639 133452
e-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Web: www.flypiedrahita.com
Have a look at Steves website for advice how to get to Piedrahita and for info on cheap flights from Britain.

Getting to Piedrahita by your own car
Total distance from Madrid airport (Barajas) to Piedrahita is 185 km and takes you about 2hrs. By hire car, take the M40, northbound (initially the sign to Burgos on leaving the terminal), continue around this circular motorway (past the Burgos turn off) to the A6 or direction La Coruña. Follow this motorway, which takes you through the tunnel in the mountains until the Avila turn off. Continue past Avila along the N120 for another 55km to Piedrahita.
Getting to Piedrahita by Bus
Madrid -> Piedrahita
To take the bus, go to the Estacion Sur de Autobuses. You can go direct from the Airport Metro to the Metro stop Mendez Alvaro. ( Cost of Metro 2 Euro and takes about 40mins). The bus company is called Cevesa and is at the ticket booth number 2. Monday to Saturday a bus leaves Madrid at 08h30 and 16h10 with an additional bus on Fridays at 20h30. On Sundays at 8:30 and 20:30. The journey takes approx 2 hours. The cost is 10.40 Euros.

return Bus trip to Madrid
buses leave Piedrahita Monday to Saturday at 8:15, 10:40 and 16:25, and on Sunday at 17:15 and 20:25.
Due to the absence of a Sunday morning Bus back to Madrid (the time when most pilots will be returning), in previous years the organisation has contracted a bus to return pilots to the airport. This can be arranged if there is sufficient demand.
Also look at the website of the bus company Cevesa . It's only in Spanish.

Renting a Car

Try Pepecar , Alamo, Ancora or Atesa .The price for a 8 or 9-seater minibus including full cover insurance and 500km/day can start from 45 Euro per day. We recommend you to team up with 7 other pilots and take turns for the driving, so that everybody is driving one day and flying on 7 days during the Piedrahita XC-Open. We try to find more car hire companies where you can rent Minibuses for a reasonable price.

There are also 20-seater minibuses with drivers available from Piedrahita. Price is about 15 € per person and day including driver and fuel. Contact Steve Ham steveham[at]flypiedrahita.com if you are interested

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