Well what can I say? For me there has only been a handful of occasions over the years that our ridge has worked so consistantly so low down 🙂
The problem we had was that cloudbase was gradually getting lower as the day went by. Initially launches to 1000ft were achieveable (wow!) but as the day passed by this gradually reduced until on the last flight, with Nigel and I in the Janus, we had to give up and turn back because cloudbase was getting just a bit too low!
After releasing at 800 ft half way up the airfield (just at the base of cloud) we pushed straight ahead reaching the ridge at 700ft and found that just as on the previous flights the ridge was still giving a steady 2-4 knots of lift. Working along towards the Gibbet it was clear that the lift was constant but we were also aware of the fact that the cloudbase was becoming lower. As we reached the Gibbet cloudbase had reduced to 700ft so we increased our speed to 80kts and reduced our height to 600ft to keep out of the gloom and raced back following the contours of the ridge, the vario still showing zero. Arriving back at the winch we still had plenty of height to fly a normal circuit and landing.
The K13, lacking the penetration and glide angle of the Janus, just could not get to the lift before having to turn back. If cloudbase had been a few hundred feet more then maybe it too would have been enjoying the conditions as well.
Must admit it is good to get back in the Janus after its little visit to Southern Sailplanes 😉