Had a great afternoon today. On an impulse we decided a trip to the beach was in order. seabreeze.com.au said the wind was going to be rubbish (wrong direction) but I packed the Swift II and the Duck just incase.

I know some people have soared Cottesloe beach so we headed there. After some exploring, some procrastinating and eventually more exploring I worked up the courage to pull the Duck out. According to the Kestrel the wind was SSW, averaging 11kts with gusts to 16kts. There was a short section of coast, just south of the groyne and near the carpark that faces SSW, it’s really rocky and necessitates flying over the water. I would love to have used the Swift as a sniffer but I knew that it’s too draggy and lightly loaded for a wind like that. So, the Duck it would have to be.

First launch – I tried the nose first method and promptly gouged the underside on the rocks 1m in front of me. Second launch (gulp) I used the two fingers on the trailing edge method and she was off. The lift was smooth and constant, though I didn’t find it really strong and there was definite variations along the ridge due to the topography. I spent a good 15 or 20 min just leisurely beating up and down the short ridge. I found it fascinating that I was getting passable lift off the ‘main’ westerly facing stretch of coast, even though the wind seemed to be running almost parallel with it. I only explored this for 2 or 3 runs though because it meant flying almost straight out away from me.

On my final run I pushed just a little too far out to the west and the lift died. I turned back and was low on the slope. I think I could have scraped over the top by almost turning into wind and allowing it to blow back and over the lip. ┬áTrouble is there was a couple watching me fly and they were between me and the Duck. So all I could do was deliberately slow it up and let it blow onto the rocks. A few frantic moments followed because I didn’t know if it was stuck on the rocks or in the drink. Fortunately she avoided a swim and some careful climbing had the Duck safe and sound.

It was so peaceful and soothing watching her gracefully soar the ridge, almost spiritual or hypnotic. We finished the day sitting on the beach, daring the waves to come the extra 5cm required to wet our feet. Served us right because one big ‘un came along that nearly wet our everything. I can see these slope / beach trips are going to become quite addictive :) Photo credit to Kristy who took this from the groyne, looking ESE.