Randy pointed out the next morning that we left at 4:32 AM; he would be bummed if he had to land at 4:58 minutes because we were late! As expected JJ and Matt were already there when we arrived after 7 AM. However, I was surprised to see Peter. Apparently he couldn't sleep and decided to beat the morning rush hour traffic. It was obviously soar-able so we rigged behind shifting sand dunes and commenced launching. Matt went first, followed by Randy, Peter, then JJ. Lucky for me, Rodger and John showed up as I was helping JJ launch. I found a good spot to balance the wing, dropped to the base bar, and stepped into the air.
I immediately discovered it was mindlessly soar-able and that I was overdressed. I thought about top landing to shed clothes, but instead unzipped and let the cool air whisk away the heat.
I played with the smooth marine air, but thought it was a bit too strong for aerobatics. I saw Peter to the north, so I left in hot pursuit. I dove through flocks of sea gulls launching from the beach, chased seals from high above, and laughed as I easily crossed gaps that are "nightmares" on less ideal days. We passed Matt coming back from Highland Light, which is about 8.5 miles out from launch. I flew on to the lighthouse, turned around, and chased down Matt before heading back to launch.
John and Rodger were getting ready to launch as I played around with JJ and Randy. Matt landed so he could go to work while Randy took off to the north. I hung around waiting for John since it was his first flight there. After wrestling with the crappy air in the setup area, he smoothly ran off launch and floated up.
Instead of waiting for Rodger to launch, I got impatient and decided to chase down Randy. We flew together until Randy had to take a few minutes to gain altitude before crossing a gap. Once I reached the Highland Light again, I took some pictures. You can easily see the curve of the cape and the water on the other side.
Randy wondered if I was trying to cook myself when I snapped pictures of the FAA radar dome and the funky little tower next to it.
Radar dome and little tower
We waved at John and Rodger heading north as we passed headed south. By the time I arrived JJ was leaving for work and Peter was on the beach. I was trying to top land when Allen announced he was getting ready to launch. Cool. (He read about our plans on Twitter and decided to show up at the last minute for his first flight at the beach.) I moved away to the south and tried to touch down on a tiny dune. It was nearly impossible; I just couldn't get the glider close to the ground!
Randy announced he was heading south to Nauset Light and I gave chase. However, I turned around after passing through sprinkles and seeing heavier rain on the other side of the cape. I turned around to land while Randy continued on.
I flew over the ocean to lose altitude, did a quick downwind dash to the beach, and then flew along the beach as I slowly settled in. I started moonwalking with the glider until I stepped too strongly into the sand, caught my toe, and dropped the glider on the base bar next to Peter. You could see my early light steps in the sand and then the "deep" footprint and "toe drag" that foiled the show. :-(
Peter and the churning ocean
Breaking down in deep sand and blowing wind is an art, but no matter how good you are sand gets in everything. I had already taken my glider up to the car and was walking along the beach to get my harness when Rodger came into land. His approach seemed fine until I noticed he wasn't descending! The beach was just about gone behind me as Rodger barely flew over my head. I was afraid he would end up in the water, but to my (and his) surprise he continued soaring past the water and was unceremoniously dumped into the sand far beyond it.
Imprint of Rodger's nose and flying wires. :-)
After a long walk back, we watched John and Randy land. Randy mentioned that Allen landed to the north, so I took Allen's van north while everyone else broke down.
Allen and Rodger flew with video cameras. Check them out.
Oh, Randy did fly for more than 5 hours, so my 2 minute delay wasn't a disaster! Randy also had his 100th hour of hang gliding airtime during the flight. Very nice.
Flights: 1, Duration: 3:00, Distance: 34 miles