Tandem with Randall
Skyport to the Antenna Farm
Westbound across San Marcos Pass to the east edge of Ellwood Canyon
Eastbound to Piru
about 1 + 12 + 63 ~ 75 miles
~ 5:40 airtime airtime
Got back into town mid day on Saturday, and was pleased to see the clean clear cold & colorful air. Took the kids to the zoo and checked the weather on Saturday night. Had to pull rank to get my kitchen pass, but it was worth a stretch. Went fishing for a tandem victim to block the cold air, and Randall responded ten minutes after my post. Got a ride from Darren.
The Spin Doctor and crew were almost ready when we arrived. Seemed to be overdeveloping so we rushed and followed about 10 minutes past Ron's 9:30 launch. Got to the east point at the Antenna Farm with 50 over and climbed back up into the low 3s. The lower level drift was from the SE, so we went with it hoping the west would push through for an eastbound leg later (Randall's car was in Ventura).
Easy going down wind, but got low across San Marcos Pass and almost flushed just west of the Airport. Limping out along a low ridge reaching for a landable field and hooked a saver at 1,050' msl. Started encountering SW flow and reached upwind to the edge of Ellwood Canyon. A little more wind from the south coming back. A bit low on a couple of occasions, but took our time and made most of the connections ok. Passed on some of the nasty air (too strong over West Bowl).
Stuck at Noon Peak for 15 minutes. We pulsed up to 42 a couple of times, but wanted at least 45. It was dark and ODed through the pass with bases down in the low 4s at Divide Peak. It seemed to be thinning and lifting, so we throttled back and held out for better altitude. TQ came in on his HG and made us look like beginners. We'd been stuck for awhile, and he nailed a tight core right away, banked it up steep and left us down below. Unfortunately, he was a bit early and hit the dirt past White Ledge in Taft's Valley. Chris Paul had been in the lead, but he was a half hour early and opted to head out from Power Line Ridge due to heavy OD and low bases. We finally got our 5K+ and got to West Divide as base was lifting. Found a thermal on the east side that opened up over the top and we got to White Ledge in good shape. There was a window through The Pass for the next hour with good sun and higher cloudbase.
White Ledge was in full sun with bases in the mid 5s. The thermals breaking off the sun baked rocks into the cold air were uncomfortably strong so we opted to take it around the corner with enough to reach for Bump 3. Got up before we got there and came in above the Nut House about 600 over launch. It was really dark, but there was sun over town. Hit a smooth thermal half way up the spine and got into the low 3s. Smooth and buoyant over to Spine One. Smooth lift in the shade again, and got back into the sun on the east end of Nordhoff Ridge. The lift in the sun was not smooth.
Got to Twin Peaks ok, but it was real dark, and had been for some time. We gained a thousand in weak lift and left for West Repeater with 37 because it was catching some rays. Came in below the top, but got up to 42 after fishing around. All the mountain points around around West Repeater were dark, but it was sunny out front and over Upper Ojai with a wall of dark clouds blocking the east end. Considered making a play for The Summit, hoping for flat land convergence on the edge of the sun, but opted to wait for better altitude. Got stuck for a half hour and never saw 4K again. Up and down below the top. Twisty air in the trigger zone along the ridge top. Twin Peaks opened up and was collecting full sun. Pipkin and Stratton both climbed out and came overhead. West Repeater also opened up and started soaking some sun. We finally had enough of getting batted around and left for East Repeater with only 37 (500 below minimums). Pulled a good glide over and connected easily.
Pipkin was climbing above us, and it looked like we might catch him, but we lost our thermal in the low 4s. Dean came over and was climbing behind the front knob. We foolishly dove back under him low into a turb zone and were promptly spanked. Pipkin took good altitude and angled for the edge of the sun over the flats in front of Boyd's. Dean went for the top of Boyd's, and we opted to reach across low.
Boyd's had been dark, but was now in full sun, but only for 5 or 10 minutes. Dean didn't find anything to circle in over the top and kept going for Puckers. Pipkin found his mark on the eastern edge of the sun out front and was climbing to cloudbase. We didn't find anything on the west side of Boyd's, and flushed off the east side for Koenigstein Road. Down low with probable landing eminent, but it was a day for low saves in the cold air and strong sunshine. Seemed to be classic Upper Ojai Convergence and our thermal opened up and drifted toward the heavy dark clouds to the NE. I lost the core about 4K and wasn't sure weather to fish upwind or downwind. Randall's intuition indicated down wind and we got back in the action to cloudbase.
Drifted up to 7K on the glide toward Santa Paula ridge. Reeeallly Cold. I was glad Randall was up front blocking. He'd been cold for a couple of hours by now and must have been hurting. Dean had flushed toward the college, but found a good core down low and was on his way up.
Got to cloudbase in the high 5s just before Santa Paula Peak and went off the end with 55. Came in ok on the other side, but had to reach across the canyon for the convergence that Pipkin marked over the F. Tom's lighter wing loading paid off and he got up near 5K, We climbed form 1,500 to 33 before drifting out the back.
On the ground in one of the aquifer recharging ponds on the south side of 126 a little past the stop light in Piru. 3:20. Tom Pipkin was another 5 or 6 miles up the road, and Dean was across the street on the west edge of town. Taliban landed in SB and was chasing in Tom's suburban. He'd collected Paul Gaiglos who landed at Nordhoff after his first flight across The Pass.
Tom P's truck got us to Ventura. We checked the bus stop, but our Costal Express was an hour plus out, so Randall boosted Paul and I back to Carpinteria. We dropped Paul at the Bus stop a couple of minutes before the # 20 arrived.
New local tandem point to point distance record. About 63 miles from our turn point to landing. The old record was a 56 mile flight with Cynthia Sansone from the Alternator to the Red Barn a few miles past Piru. It was good to set a new mark with Randall because we'd made a couple of prior attempts.
Rain on Monday