30 December 2015

CCC and Bye-Bye Boomerang 10

Well – it was with great sadness a few days ago that I said good bye to my Gin Boomerang 10. It is a quite stunning wing with a level of purity and refinement that I have never before experienced. Letting such a crisp, high performing and great handling glider go was a wrench.

But for me it was the right decision. Competition level gliders require sharp skills and close attention especially when racing. I got caught out once and had the pleasure of a serene reserve ride but one that gave me the chance to reflect on my error.
I also had to accept that my recent flying on the Boomerang has been a mixture of huge pleasure and fair amount of stress. So what to do? Focus sharply on the weaknesses, train, get more hours, challenge myself to go hard again OR take a step back and take a step down. Look for a different focus.

A few things came back into sharp relief in 2015, not least that racing top end gliders in strong conditions is a hard-core business. At the PWC in Portugal this year there were reserve rides every day although thankfully no significant injuries. Sitting around in a group of PWC regulars, I made the comment that it hadn’t been a great week for safety. A few glances around the table and back came the response: it’s pretty normal really! I had wanted to believe that reserves are the exception rather than regular events. As you would expect/hope the deployments generally appear to be rarer amongst the very top group. I say “appear” because even if the incident information is routinely and reliably collected, I am damned if I can track it down. Maybe that’s intentional - some of the rule makers wouldn’t need much encouragement to renew their assault on comps.

The Boomerang 10 in its element
So has CCC (CIVL Competition Class) worked? In my view it’s a step forward from EN D certified comp wings and the rule-stretching that went on. The gliders are purer and in particular don’t need to be trimmed slow to pass the tests. The parameters such glider/line dimensions and speed bar travel are tied down better now. With the expectation of top speed they are superior to the Open Class 2 liners. There are good gliders available in all the main sizes. It is truly impressive to see the cracking CCC gliders from Gin and Ozone, but a shame to see so few manufacturers involved.

I’m not into competition bashing competitions, slagging off CCC or calling for more regulation; in my view it is about free choice and in my case I need a break from the madness!