21/08/02 - Jim Mallinson, 50.7km from Coombe Gibbet
TO Combe Gibbet SU 364 623 witness Sam Moffett, 1230 hrs
A very similar flight to the one I did with Eddie Colfox a month or so ago, but this time I was with someone called Ali on a blue and white Airwave Sport (it may have been Ali Guthrie). Everything was looking pretty good when we climbed out to base at about 4000' and we blobbed along before going on a glide over Andover. We didn't find anything and it looked like it was all over until, at about 500' agl, we reached the other side of the town and got a 3m/s ripper up to base. I then straight-lined, slightly crosswind, for 6 or 7 km, in and out of a long cloud which skirted the southern edge of the danger area. By now the cloud cover was at least 7/8 and things were looking tricky. Low again we met up and glided to the one patch of sunlight and got hoisted back up again. Not for the first time I then lost Ali (blue and white gliders are very difficult to see) as he pushed more west (we had to avoid Bournemouth airspace). I went for an active looking cloud and just as I went into it I saw Ali a couple of km further on, so I took a compass bearing on him and climbed into the cloud until I got the fear....I then headed for Ali and popped out of the cloud nearly 1000' above the base in a corridor between it and the next cloud. Fantastic! I went crosswind and topped up under the cloud that Ali had been using before heading after him. I lost him pretty quickly though and then found myself going down in exactly the same place that I had a month or so before. I tried a couple of blobs and then, at the very same moment that I'd resigned myself to landing, I saw Ali climbing a few hundred metres upwind and just out of glide range. Damn! Landed one field away from where I landed the last time. I don't think Ali got much further as I saw him low a few km away and didn't see him get up. If I'd managed to spot him earlier we might have stayed up and could have gone much further as I was down by 3pm....