Nordhoff to Skyport (top landing)
to Old San Marcos Road (near Cathedral Oaks)
33 miles straight line from Nordhoff to Final LZ
26 + 7 miles
3 hour first leg, plus 20 minute break, plus 50 minute final leg
First day of unemployment after a 2 year run with Envenergy. Gorgeous mid winter day. Debated weather to go from SB or Ojai, but despite the lack of forecasted east in the winds aloft prediction, there were obvious signs of Santa Anna. Met Diablo in Ventura, grabbed Brendan in Ojai, and collected Edward for crew. On launch a bit after 10 am. Seemed a little early with steady flow from the east gusting over 10 knots. Pulled some weeds and trimmed a couple of bushes before getting off a little before 11 in light cycles.
It was already west on the spine out toward the front points. Found a thermal on the south point and tracked it back into better convergence lift over launch. The lower stuff out front was all drifting from the west, but the thermals were tracking out of the east back above launch. Topped at 56. Thought the convergence would get stronger later, but took my altitude and followed a seam along the back ridge westbound. Angled out at Spine One and across 33. Came in over the mid ridge above lower Bump One with 150 to spare, but bled down even with the brush to 26 and had to scrap.
Finally wiggled up to the ridge line, but 3K was the best I could do. A little SW wind, but the short upwind glides were good in the shadows and the lee side draw was consistent. Got to 31 at Bump 2, and arrived low at Bump 3. Rode up the lee side draw and took it tight around the corner, but the windward west side was cool so I cranked back into the warm lee and cored up above the front knob. Tracked up the spine and connected to 4+.
4 would normally be a little low to press uphill from Bump 3, but the draw was working on the faces so I went for the back ridge and worked up to the Back Step. Still in a light west wind, I considered using the Back Step as a turn point. Other pilots were reporting easy down wind glides past Twin Peaks and better altitudes. With the high ridge working consistently, I couldn't resist scouting uphill. Got to 5 just before the gap, and used the bar to get through the back of the saddle behind White Ledge. It was upwind to the gap, but once through, it seemed like it it was little east. I was planning to use White Ledge as a turn point, but wanted to get back up to ridge line in the sun before running across the shade for the SW spine. The back ridge continued to work , and I kept extending my turn point ranging between 44 and 52.
I kept thinking that there would be west out front and I was simply protect from the lower level SW by staying deep. Edward called Debbie and she was 3 to 9 out of the ESE. Got a nice smooth weak thermal over East Repeater, and move easily over to West Divide. I was stuck for a while at West Divide, and the drift was light but definitely out of the east. Finally got into the high 4s and drifted toward the back ridge off the NW. Another nice sweet thermal over Noon, and 53 off the west end of Power Line Ridge.
There had been some soupy marine haze pooling out in front of the SB launches, but the SE was picking up and the haze was retreating. It started getting punchy along Castle Ridge, and then sharp and punchy down lower past Ramero. I set my sights on the Skyport for a rest stop, but was concerned about getting down in the snappy air. The lift might have been better deep, but I didn't like the SE wind and settled for lower altitudes along the mid points. Hit on Shadow Peak and came in below The Factory a little under 3K. Saw a Hang Glider fish out from The Liminator, via the Holy Hills and the Rock, and flush into Parma. Got to the Skyport with a couple hundred over. The flags were stiff up from the south, but I was drifting from the north over launch. Took it a ways down the uphill runway on the east side for a test approach, thinking it would be hard to get down through the windward ridge lift, but I flew into a sink hole and dropped out of the sky. Barely made it onto the road with tight 270 and a final perpendicular to the runway.
Nice break on a clear sunny day. No one around. Kicked back for 20 minutes and had a power bar and some water. Called Debbie and she confirmed ESE gusting to 16 with an average of 9. Off again about a quarter past 2. Despite the SE wind, the house thermal was tracking form the SW. Got over to the R&R and climbed back up to 48. I was on my guard in the solid cores, but the punch seemed to be fading. 44 at La Cumbre Peak, a little up over West Bowl, and flushing off the lower tip of the VOR spine. Down to 25, and climb back to 33, still drifting from the SE.
It might have worked better back deep at Painted Cave, but the altitude is worth more out front and the day was fading. I went for the lower front portion, but wouldn't commit into the lee. Fizzled and ran out Old San Marcos Road. Touch down in some nice deep grass next to the road. Edward had me loaded and mobil before I could get my flight suit off.
Diablo went to East Beach so we broke down there. Nice day on the coast with warm temps and zero wind. My car was in Ventura so we took the long way to Carp through Ojai.