Chiefs Launch to the Nut House to 126 and Sycamore Road (between Santa Paula & Fillmore)
One Top Land at Launch
~2½ hours airtime
Looked like too much wind up higher, and the lapse rate was forecast to be good down lower. Opted for Ojai dispite the limitations, realizing it wouldn't likely work outside the valley. Met Diablo & Carolyn in Ventura, and loaded Tom P and Chris P at Nordhoff. John Kloer also had a truck load.
Airborne about 20 past 11. Tested for altitude, topped about 54, but couldn't get up at the Peak. Back out and top land as Tom P launched. Some west wind, ratty with broken thermals. Chris Paul took the lead and I followed over to Nordhoff, topping about 4K along the way. Chris turned out for the High School from the east end of Nordhoff. I did the turn point at the Nut House. Didn't need to stop much after getting into the high 3s at Bruce's.
Passed Tom P and Brendan on their way to the turn point. Dolphined over to Bruce's and got back above 4. 4 plus again over Stooges. Up the spine from Twin Peaks. Tried an approach, but it seemed too ratty and punchy to force it without good reason (OJ reports I was approaching in the teeth of the cycle and may have had better luck on another try). Tagged the Peak, but could only get a couple hundred over. It was working a bit better on the high ground behind launch.
Easy glide to The Repeater with a nice tailwind. Didn't really connect and ended up at Boyd's. A bit below the top. Found a big smooth convergence thermal out in front of the SW side. Brendan arrived a little higher and was climbing higher up. The front core worked better, and Diablo joined in. Got to 55 and took it up to the base of the Bluffs. I bit leery with all the ratty air we had earlier, but the Bluffs were mostly smooth ridge lift. Got there with 5K, and eventually got to 65+ without thermalling.
Taliban had left for Santa Paula Ridge earlier, too low and flushed to the College. Brendan left with 53 from the high tit on Puckers. I went off the end with 63 and got to Santa Paula Ridge high enough to follow Brendan around the corner with 43. A lot of sink on the river side. A bit windy out in the river air. Brendan had put down at the Dump (Toland) and was reporting gust to 18ish on the deck. I was worried about landing in the foothill with the wind blowing. Coming out one spine west of the landfill, but couldn't reach the edge of the foothills crabbing against the west wind.
Fell through a gap down wind for the dump. Kept thinking I would find a spot with channeled air, but it all looked like potential lee side swirl. Got on the windward face of the last front point, but my line was blocked by high voltage power lines. I continued along the face, prepared to land at the base if necessary, but wanting out of the canyon. Was able to slip under the power lines, but started climbing in the ridge lift before clearing. Got on the speed bar and pushed out the river side. I was now climbing in the ridge lift, but there was another set of smaller lines (that I hadn't seen) running parallel with a 50 yard gap between the sets. I had to turn away to avoid the smaller lines and was keen about directional control corralled between the 2 sets. Fortunately, the ridge lift boosted me high enough to dive over the second set and I got out of the canyon.
Continued on into cleaner air, but couldn't find and open field. Tried to run across a field of newly planted avocado to get away from from and upwind tree line, but only got half way across. Turned too late to get all the way back around into the wind, but the sideways touchdown caused the canopy to accordion and I was able to kill it without damaging any new trees.
Pack up and hike down to 126. Diablo landed across the street. Carolyn got Tony, Brendan, and myself. We dropped Brendan in Santa Paula with OJ and crew, and Diablo got me back to Ventura.