After coming to something like a high level competition I find it is hard just to sit back and say ‘yes I had fun’, there is always a ‘but’ or ‘if’ in there somewhere. I think its good to look at the positive and negative sides of these events both from a sporting and personal perspective. Here are a few things I have taken from my first world championship experience:
– Sopot is an amazing place for xc and competition when its on.
– I am able to keep up with most of the pilots at this level, I can adapt my flying style to suit competition, from pushing/racing on the first task to gaggle flying on the last few.
– Flying with 140+ of the worlds best pilots has been an incredible experience and great to photograph.
– Hanging with the Aussie Team has been great, getting to know everyone’s personal, competition, and general approach to flying.
-Preparation of small things, losing a task due to not understanding my instruments, especially ones that I have flown with for years was just a matter of being ill prepared and not entirely present in my headspace for this competition.
– Gaggle flying, leeching, and hanging back is rife in this type of competition. There is just no incentive to lead, push out or try a different line. Its the game you have to play at this type of comp and i’m not sure it corresponds to good flying, I find it incredibly frustrating.
– Cloud flying and cheating is widespread and accepted by many.
– The certification system and implementation of rules means that the whole certified glider level/safe playing field is a grey area.
– One launch competition venue reduced our chances greatly of flying, almost halving the taskable days.
Overall I am very disappointed with my results at this competition and leave feeling quite empty and unsure of what I achieved. I am so appreciative to all of you who sent me messages of support and thank you so much. I enjoyed my time in Bulgaria, all the people I met were really nice and it was an interesting place to visit. I am flying home in a few days time and looking forward being back.