Thursday, December 8, 2016

Kuratake Delivers

After seemingly months of weak conditions, what a refreshing, exciting day today.  A rather strong NW wind was blowing, and the air was chilled, with freezing temperatures at ceiling height (1400m).
The sea was still retaining some heat, and the chilly air made enough of a temperature difference that an enormous rotor was set up in the SE leeside (where our launch is).  Rather thick clouds from this circulation nearly obscured the sun, but it did not seem to matter: the sea was providing the energy today!  After some delicate maneuvering, I was able to work myself free of the leeside and dolphin the convergence line coming from Mt. Domeizan.  I was barely moving forward in the strong wind but not sinking either, and was able to make it all the way, setting up an eventual 17km triangle.  Combined with a 32min hikeup with the pack, and a final 15 minutes of playing around low in the gentle leeside, made for a very satisfying day!

X-Contest record of my flight

Initial trip to cloudbase.  At the inversion, it was rough enough to be exciting but not enough to be dangerous.  A perfect combination.  The transition from leeside was very smooth also.  There were considerable waves on the sea from the onshore wind which was opposite to the prevailing wind - a rare sight of the rotor extending all the way to the sea.

The northwest side of Kuratake, from Domeizan, looking downwind.

A little low on the return - picking up height at a very windy Kayatsumaru Viewpont.

Brocken - playing around at cloudbase.
Back in the leeside - time to start thinking about making it to work on time!

Spiraling over Tanasoko village.
Nicely aligned for parking lot spot landing - lots of sea breeze!
Last 15 minutes of the flight, showing the excellent village thermal that comes to life under NW wind leeside convergence, and the Hayama thermal from the small terrace nearer the mountain.  I found both thermals at about 150m AGL.
The climb up is also shown in green.

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