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Skyport to Ranch Sespe
50 miles from The R&R to 2nd LZ
4¾ hours airtime, 5 hours 20 minutes total
Sunday was Easter, so I lobbied for Saturday.
The 6K temp was ok (7 or 8 degrees), but the surface wasn't suppose to heat much despite plenty of sun. Pretty thick haze. Not much wind, mostly from the SE (Catalina Eddie). I thought it was going to take awhile to heat up. The day before was better later. We were late and SA had his troops off and up before we got to launch. Everyone was getting up pretty easy.
Off at 11:30. Top over 4K at the R&R, and on course against the SE. I thought of going west for a downwind leg, but was worried about the late start. Despite the forecasted eddie, I figured the west would eventually come through. I left The Factory in the mid 3s, trying to stay in as deep as possible to avoid the SE on the upwind glides. Scotty (HG Fusion) topped 500 higher out front and beat me on the glide.
The trend early on was to play for short glides across the canyons. By staying deep, the canyons were narrower and the intercepts on the other side were back in protected from the SE. Once on the terrain, you could snuggle up and contour the boundary layer convection. The east faces were working better for the first hour and a half. The altitudes were ok, but marginal for connections through The Pass; low to mid 3s through Montecito, mid to upper 3s along Castle Ridge, low 4s at the Power Lines and topping about 45 through the Pass.
Scotty was fumbling in the small stuff and getting stuck. We traded the lead back and forth until Noon where I left him. Hammer (HG Laminar) ran me down, caught me at West Divide and kept going. The last I saw him was East Divide (I heard a rumor he landed in Upper Ojai). It was interesting getting over The Pass. The deep route was still working, and provided more opportunity for scraps. I worked the back bump east of Noon, and hugged the shallow contour to get into the saddle in front with of West divide. There were 3 or 4 finger crossings where 50 feet made the difference between getting around or landing out in the back of the canyon.
I got stuck at Divide for a while, wanting more, but in the end the best I could muster was 45. I played high for East Divide, came in below the spine and followed the contour down to get on top. I followed the spine down into the notch but never found anything that paid off, and I couldn't clear the next bump on the south side of the low saddle. I fell into the drainage on the Coyote Canyon side and picked up a hundred or two off a couple of low fingers. The drift through the notch was from the west so at least I wasn't against the wind. The extra few hundred feet was going to get me to the SW bump at White Ledge below the trigger, but above the flat relief, so I'd have a chance. I hit a convergence 100 yards before I got there and took it up to 42. Dodged another hike.
The drift was pulling me back toward the thermal and I felt a little uneasy pushing up the ledge against the wind 500 below the top of the peak. I got slapped around a little, but once out of the draw, the glide got better and I hit a couple of good extenders. I bobbed out to the SE point and found something good to 45.
Ojai was full of pilots and I'd been trying to get a comeback since Noon. I wanted a wind report because we had the SE. The only comeback I got all afternoon was from Eddie, but he was at launch and didn't have a good handle on the info I needed.
Not much altitude off Bump 3. One and two didn't work either. No matter, the Nut House always works, but it looked like I'd get there pretty low, probably below launch. I hit a strong convergence core in the mouth of the canyon on the edge of the south draw up the canyon. I picked up 5 or 6 hundred but pulled out because I didn't want to drift too far into the canyon. Came in over the Nut House launch with plenty at 26. Didn't bother to stop and dolphined over to Spine One and got to 4.
It was west at Nordhoff, and I got to 45. 4 thousand at Twin Peaks, 43 at West Repeater, nothing off East Repeater, but downwind over to Boyd's. I came in low and cautious. There were some swallows working a convergence in the bowl, but I didn't like the air. I went over to the SE spine and got to 42, drifting from the SE. I ran for the high ground a Puckers, but had to fall off out front. Worked back up from the low 3s to 4, drifting from the east. I thought of turning around and trying to catch a ride with the SCPA pilots, but I couldn't get anyone on the radio.
I ran upwind for Santa Paula ridge. Came in 100 too low and burned another hundred trying in a lull. Not wanting to quit on the day, and not willing to get lower, I side hill landed in the upper teens. I was dressed for altitude and would overheat on a climb, so I packed up and fudged uphill about 250 vertical. Eddie came to the rescue and gave me a spotting report. About a half hour after touchdown, I was airborne again in a good cycle. I milked the smooth lift for about 300 feet, but it quit before I got to the top of the knob. I ran down wind around the corner to the next face well below ridge line and repeated the figure eight thing in the convection. Just kept on stepping up with figure eights and finally connected on top to 55. Got to 58 over Santa Paula Peak.
My drift was from the SE so I headed south figuring I'd drop into the upriver west wind down lower. Made some phone calls and arranged retrieval. Down in the west wind, I was on a good line and could take it straight downwind. Hit on the F in the high teens and picked up 3 or 4 hundred and a mile. Final glide with a few extenders to touchdown at the railroad crossing a quarter mile west of Rancho Sespe (about 5 miles east of Fillmore). 4:50 pm.
Cruser was 15 seconds early and we were back in the barn at 6:30.