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Pine SS, 4 flights, 3 top landings, to Nordhoff HS
Max altitude: 13,200'
Longest legs ~ 16 mi
Total leg distance ~ 73 mi
Had a firm deadline to be home by 7. Definitely influenced my decisions. Sharon provided transportation to the HS, and we hooked up with Tony and Carolyn for a boost to launch. Edward was crewing for Richard and Don (HGs). Dan was still on the injured list and provided his truck and expertise. The north launch was oozing from the north, and the South Launch was cycling in weak, but building, when we arrived about 10:15. Concerned the SE wind would strengthen, I encouraged pilots to try the morning air. Ron Faoro was first off a before 11, and I followed a few others a little after 11.
The altitudes were initially limited, but got better. I found a little convergence over at Rayes about 15 minutes into the flight, and topped a little over 10K. Took it down to the SE corner of Decision Point. Was able to maintain a hundred over the terrain, but got down to 65. Topped about 68 and angled back back over to The Pit Stop low. Wiggled up for my only low connection all day. Back on course for an easy return to launch. CUs were popping across The Chute and over Lockwood. Several pilots went OTB, but the first batch fizzled at Dry Canyon and The 50/50.
Tried several approaches for a ridge line landing in my usual spot, but there was too much convection bleeding off the ridge to get down. It was SE on launch, so I tried the approach from the west for launch itself. That worked fine, and continued to work all day. Good soft touch down about 20 yards west of launch. Took a short rest and got airborne again. The day was definitely switch on now. Quickly went to 10K in the first thermal off launch.
There were clouds off the West over the ranches on the spine above the head of the Sespe water shed (west of 33). Boated on over for an easy connection. Climbed to 12+ on the east side of the cloud development, but the base of the main mass was only about 10K. Skirted the southern edge and pointed out at cloud base about 10K. I was on the divide spine directly north of Monte Arido . There were some haze domes along the spine, but Arido is 6K and the raw glide looked iffy. I had a firm 7 pm and I wanted at least a couple K more, so I spent some time searching around. Finally gave up and went back toward launch with the intention of landing. Pretty much drove the course, with some speed bar at times, but arrived too high over launch for a landing, so I continued on to Rayes. I was trying to position for a run to Chiefs, but encountered more SE and topped at 11,300. Took it south bound, testing the glide toward Ojai. I was down to 9K coming up on Ortega Ridge across from Half Moon. The upwind glide was looking iffy, and it was still early in the day. I thought there might be less SE off to the west. Pilots were headed back to launch for round 2, so I opted to be social and turned around. Came in at the right altitude. On target on the first pass, but floated up and had to stall it for a drop in from 5 ft over the bulls eye in the center of launch.
The cycles were strong, but the SE wasn't building. Most of the clouds were pushed just over the back, but it looked like they were trying to form right over launch. Got back to 10K. Don & Richard were on course across Lockwood, topping in the mid 11s. 12K looked possible just over the back, but the best we could do over the ridge was about 10K. Went down under the west edge of a cloud over the Hwy 33 Summit, looking for another 2K. Fished around awhile, but finally went back to launch. Another good landing on target, but it was more buoyant, and I floated up even more. Had to stall it for a drop in again.
Sharon had "top landed" so I gave a little assistance. Dan was acting as launch assistant and crew all day, and did the bulk of the work. Another fun launch into a stiff cycle, and got to altitude in short order. Search all along the ridge, but 10 five was the best I could muster. The cloud off to the west was getting taller, and had been shading in the western end of the ridge as the afternoon sun angled to the far side. I decided to try the cloud again. It was dark on the glide over, but under the middle, the afternoon sun was full on. The base was smooth and the lift was also. The bottom was only about 10K, but I wanted 12 and climbed to 13,200'. Left all iced up and headed south.
We still had SE up high, and staged off to the west with playable altitude, I was tempted to reach for Carpinteria, but my firm 7 pm get home deadline would be blown if I came up short. I got on the bar an angle directly upwind toward Matilija Reservoir for the long slow glide. Down lower, the wind was less, and the glide got better. Arrived over Nordhoff High School with 2,500. Easy landing conditions on the grass into a 10 mph breeze. The Highway 5 HG crew were loading gear and the PG crew arrived as I was zipping up the bag. Home at 6:40.