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Fantastic performance from our Steve Watts

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Fantastic performance from our Steve Watts

Postby Dave Thomas » Sun Aug 19, 2018 8:17 am

Despite 'only' flying an En D 3 line glider this year, Steve is currently in 10th position overall in the UK national XC League. All gliders above him are 2 line En D or CCC wings and very many below him in the table are too. His top 6 flights are all with over 100 points with a combined total of 938 points, and the season isn't quite over just yet.

What I think is most significant apart from a truly brilliant performance is just how much better the current crop of 2 line high performance paragliders are over the best of the 3 liners. In my completely subjective opinion the difference is greater between a top end 3 liner and a 2 liner than the difference between an ordinary En B and a top end En D 3 line wing. I've briefly flown Steve's Advance Omega X-Alps 2 and instantly fell in love with the handling, but I don't think the performance is that much better than my mid range En C wing. I've flown with average En B wings and they climb as well or better and the glide between thermals is very similar to mine. However I've flown alongside Ozone Zeno's and their sink rate is dramatically lower than mine, they glide just so much flatter and that's without going on full speed bar where they would be untouchable on glide angle.

Steve has achieved such a great deal of good distance flights by making good decisions and not bombing out early, being patient and just staying in the air, often for longer than anyone else. Every day for the last 2 years that we've both flown XC from the same site he's beaten me - I'm not sore, but I must get better!

Steve hasn't just drifted aimlessly with the wind, his top 3 scores are all long distance goal flights.

For all of our budding XC pilots in the club, do give it a go, it's much nicer away from the ridge and so much more of an adventure.
Dave Thomas
Posts: 1547
Joined: Thu May 02, 2013 12:45 pm

Re: Fantastic performance from our Steve Watts

Postby David Broughton » Sun Aug 19, 2018 9:04 am

For all of our budding XC pilots in the club, do give it a go, it's much nicer away from the ridge and so much more of an adventure.

Will the club be using our increased subs to provide a retrieve minibus & driver? :lol:
David Broughton
Posts: 203
Joined: Sun May 05, 2013 6:00 pm

Re: Fantastic performance from our Steve Watts

Postby Steve Watts » Sun Aug 19, 2018 1:45 pm

Thanks for the write up Dave,

As always with these things practice is key and availability to get out on those good looking days and I'm very fortunate that since the beginning of July I could catch most!

Throw in some good luck too! :D

Steve Watts
Posts: 4
Joined: Sun May 05, 2013 6:03 pm

Re: Fantastic performance from our Steve Watts

Postby Brian Sanders » Sun Aug 19, 2018 2:12 pm

Well done to Steve ! It’s also noticeable over the last few years that many in the top 10 in the league often end up with some of their highest scoring flights as declared triangles from a tow field. At this nosebleed level in the league, all the pilots are excellent and marginal gains from wings etc become very important.
What I think it is just as important though to say is for the rest of us mere mortals misunderstanding that a higher rated (and thus less safe) wing is not the key to flying further on XC; site selection, route planning, route adaption, thermalling technique, gliding skills, general fitness and observation skills in my opinion are far more important. There is no point having a high end wing if you glide to the wrong place ! Having enough free bandwidth to observe the sky, collectors, sources, triggers, birds and other pilots can be impacted massively by flying a wing that’s ‘too hot’ for the pilot. Investment in post qualification training can often yield much bigger performance gains than can the purchase of a new wing. Steve is clearly demonstrating he has all this in the bag and has the free bandwidth to really show what he can do on a three liner.
Brian Sanders
Posts: 20
Joined: Tue May 20, 2014 9:41 pm

Re: Fantastic performance from our Steve Watts

Postby Geoffm » Tue Aug 21, 2018 6:02 pm

Actually, if you switch to open distance rather than standard scoring, Steve is 5th, not 10th.
Site Admin
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