It’s been in the planning since Q3 2011, and here we finally are on our way to Issoudun, France for the Pre-Worlds feminine competition in order to practice at the site at which the World Championships will be held next year.
We (Steve, Michael and myself) are starting out with a 00:30 ferry journey from Dover to Calais, and this for me is after a full day at work…
I try and dose in the car as Steve drives the first 2:30 hours to Dover so that I can drive on the other side of the channel. In the end, I only do a small proportion of the driving as I’m so exhausted.
Worryingly, as dawn breaks and as we approach Issoudun, the weather is complete cloud cover, just like the UK…. The journey is pretty straight forward, although the SatNav took us way too close to Paris and the traffic was dreadful even at 06:00 in the morning and the going was very slow indeed. It would have to be me driving at the point! I wouldn’t recommend driving through Paris to anyone, but towing a 20m trailer, no way!
We arrived at Issoudun at 11:30 local time, so the journey had taken us about 8:30 hours which included a few stops along the way for stretch breaks as well as time out to phone our Bank as we had a problem with Steve’s debit card at a fuel station…what a pain.
We met up with our gliding friends and then pitched our large tent and a small one for Michael, as it happens, just in time, because we were just loading the final few items from the car when the heavens opened and it rained and rained.
When the rain finally stopped, we rigged the Cirrus in preparation for ‘Scrutineering’ which is where the glider is examined for the disablement of the blind flying instruments and weighed to check that it is within limits when everything is onboard (so I was weighed too).
All the checks went well, so we towed it out to park it up. When we arrived at the parking area, I was so disappointed to find that the wing dolly had worn too rather deep holes in the top surface of the Starboard wing. We’ve had and used the same wing dolly for many years and have never had a problem before…why now? It’s even more frustrating when you consider that we paid to have the top surface of the wings refinished only a couple of months ago… We rubbed down the holes as best we could, attached a large lump of protective foam to the wing dolly and then put on the wing covers to protect the glider overnight.
We went back to the Club Bar to pick up our pre-paid ‘plated food’; we were not sure what to expect here, and it wasn’t particularly appetising as it was rather like airline food. We’ll give it one more try and if no good, see if we can get our money back.
Talking of money, we were also required to pay a EUR90 charge for camping – all UK competitions include the camping in with the competition entry fee, but not here. On top of all of this, it appears that the so-called Pre-World Club Class Gliding Competition turns out not to be that at all, but other gliders outside of the Club Class have now been included, so that probably puts me at the bottom of the handicap stack with the Cirrus. I’m not very happy at all.
All I can do now is see what the weather brings for tomorrow and set about studying the airmaps.