Site hosted by Build your free website today!

Tales from Cloudbase-Zimbabwe Paragliding

Latest-Zim Open postponed because of elections/fuel crisis/ and other ZANU-PF plagues. No news on whether a Nationals will be held this year.

NB. Zimbos your country needs you!--send in your stories, site guides, memorable moments and flights, photos, bullshit musings, etc etc.

1./Manu Wegmershaus, Art Farm Winching, Feb. 2000

Had such a beautiful flight on Saturday at ART farm-winched up to about 150m and lost and gained about 5m over the next 10mins.Climbed up to about 5-600m in a small broken thermal which eventually vanished.Flew out over the fields where the maize had been freshly cut leaving a big golden trigger.Ryan was winched up and got into a reasonable thermal.I caught one a bit behind him and the 2 converged.After climbing a couple of hundred metres decided that greener pastures and a faster climb was required so headed off to a sunnier looking bit and almost immediately hooked into a nice 2 up.Ryan came shooting over and we circled for a while.

I was watching these 2 storks about a km off and much higher bulleting up over Wingate.Decided to leave old Ryan again(The pink stinker and the little rat underneath were starting to cramp my style) .Headed off and before long hooked into a 2up which soon increased to a steady 3-4up.Couldn't shake the little shit off and before you could shout "piss off you wanker!!) he was turning in the opposite direction in MY thermal and on his way to receiving a severe bitch slap.I stood my air and hurled some rather vulgar abuses at him and eventually he got the picture and started turning in the same direction.Some gondes in town were bugging the hell out of me "contol 012780231,can you copy over" buzz buzz zzzz zzz,so evntually had to forget about the thermal for a bit and turn off my radio.Found the core again and started accelerating past Ryan.The ground was looking quite distant by now and flying with out my flight suit it was getting quite cool but refreshing after the blazing heat on the ground.The clouds were looking really close and large now .Suddenly wisps of cloud were appearing underneath me and looking up I saw the beginnings of a nice little spoofy cloud. Domboshawa and Gomo Kurira were within easy gliding distance and bright gold and white in the midday heat. I could faintly hear them calling my name "manuel,manuel come to us and we will deliver you the mother of all thermals. "ryan"I said,"domboshawa is calling,Let's do it". Immediately,John on the radio "Fuck you,you can't go,I also want to fly"etc etc. So after much persuasion and trying to attack his conscience by saying that it's cos of people like him that the Zim record still stands at a pathetic 60km,I started spiralling down.Did a rosette and got the wing tips to touch!!me and Ryan did formation spiralling and landed within seconds of each other. What exhilaration-I was stoked.John was pissed,especially as his max height gain was about 3m that day.

2./ Manu Wegmershaus, The Dyke, July 1998

We arrived at about 12 at the dyke,a 150m hill about an hour out of Harare.The day had that very dead sort of feeling to it with the wind coming in small fitful gusts from every direction. It was coming predominantly over the back. Eventually at about 3 we decided to launch and glide down before going home.Three pilots launched before me and were soon scratching along the face of the adjacent hill and losing height rapidly. With a final despondent glance at the descending gliders I braced myself and lunged fowrards.My APCO Xtra came up smoothly and soon I was being welcomed by terra firma. I still had about 50m,about half way up a tiny hill we call "the pimple".Suddenly I was climbing gently at about 0.5m/s. Iwas incredulous,as I circled slowly up and laughed silenltly to myself at the grounded earthlings peering desperately up at me.The lift was very small and broken and there appeared to be a shear layer at about 400m ato where it got quite turbulent and ,after a few assymetrics,the lift either stopped or I lost it(I'm never really sure which it is). Anyway,I thought, I had been damn lucky to get up at all.

So I flew out in front of takeoff and noticed that the wind was now blowing over the back.Suddenly I was going up at 1m/s.I immediately started turning and the lift was steady and increased to 2m/s. I turned and turned and turned.The paraglider pilot's perfect thermal. I closed my eyes and just listened to the steady beep of my vario. When I opened my eyes I got a bit of a shock,instead of my bed there was over a thousand metres between me and the ground. I climbed up to 1700m ato until eventually the thermal petered out.My friend,who had just had a bad accident a few weeks earlier,came over the radio,"Go,I'll pick you up." This is every pilot's dream,a gorgeous flight and retrieval. The view was awesome,everthing so close and yet so far below. I set off on a glide and soon flew over a farm I haad always wanted to fly over,a little triumphant shout inside and then push on. It was about 4.30pm by now,sunset at 6pm,and i could feel that the air was definitely losing that afternoon buoyancy.I had had a couple of beeps on my glide but nothing worth turning in,even if I did. I hit another 1up about 500m above the deck but the drift was taking me well away from the road and the thought of hours walking out was just too unappealing especially since something had gone wrong with my radio and I no longer had contact with my retrieve. So a final glide towards the road with the wind now blowing strong in the opposite direction to the way I wanted it too and the way it had and when I had left the hill. I landed in a field full of curios cows and packed up my glider.10mins later the car was there to pick me up and the war stories were flowing more freely than beer in a pub. It had only been an 18km flight but it was just perfect and it was the first time i had properly left the hill and just headed off.

** Home ** France ** Copine ** Mexico ** Reviews **