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Polish Paragliding Open 2008

Craig Morgan


The first competition of this season took me to Pieve D’Alpago in the Italian Dolomites, just down the valley from Feltre.

My brand new MacPara Magus prototype was bristling in its bag.

The warm up day allowed me to acquaint myself with the Magus as I’d only managed to fly it coastal on 1 previous occasion. Its reputation for good safe performance had attracted me and although I didn’t challenge her initially the Magus flew impeccably.

Task 1 was a sprint down to Feltre, return and across the Pieve basin to goal. 91 km.  A reasonable start gave me the option of a buoyant valley glide or sticking to the mountains. The former proved to be beneficial and I tucked in behind the much vaunted Aircross U4 and an Axis Mercury. For the next 50 km the three of us shared the lead. The Mercury missed our last major climb and left the Aircross and my super stable Magus to fight it out. After a long valley crossing I was resigned to a comfortable 2nd place but alert for any opportunity I might be given. This opportunity duly arrived and I was able to take the lead where I stayed and finally won the task 3-4 minutes ahead of the Aircross.

Task 2 – 72 km towards Feltre and back to multiple turnpoints in the Pieve basin.  A good start again allowed me to track the leaders and slowly as my confidence grew in the Magus I pushed more speed bar. My comparative glide seemed to improve and with a quarter bar still remaining I was confident I had enough speed to match anyone I raced. The climbs were strong and my averager topped out at 9 up in the generally smooth climbs. The Magus was reassuringly manoeuvrable within the thermals and centred easily in the cores.  However, on my return to the cliff face above take-off a stiff southerly wind was creating havoc with anyone entering the associated turbulence as it diverged around the face. My Magus took a good hit, along with several other gliders, but was predictable in its reactions and I was able to recover it. The associated altitude loss left me behind the leaders but I was able to regain 6th position at the end.

Task 3 – 97km towards Feltre, into the flats, and back with new turnpoints in the Pieve basin. The lead gaggle formed similarly however this time a lesson in into wind soaring along the stunning Dolomite cliff faces was the order of the day. That done several gliders chose different routes out to the flatland turnpoint and the downwind soar home was quick and not for the faint hearted !. A schoolboy error saw me miss a turnpoint and leaving the 2 other gliders at the front I returned the 4.8 km to retake it !!! Angry at my mistake, I pushed the Magus homeward block to block on the speed bar overtaking several gliders to put myself back in proximity with the leaders. At the finish line I was 4th which after due deliberation gave me the overall win by roughly 30 points.

This was my first, and very satisfying, win at National level. The Magus felt instantly comfortable and more than lived up to its reputation as a top performing competition glider. Thank you MACPARA !!!


Craig Morgan
Polish Paragliding Open 2008