This was a really fun race but I screwed up the start badly. It was a regatta start which means that your time begins as soon as the start gate opens, so you want to cross the line as close to the opening time as possible. In other words, if I’m flying toward the start and 30 seconds before I arrive the gate is open, I will have had an elapsed time of 30 seconds by the time I reach the gate, so if it takes me 1:30 (one hour and thirty minutes) to complete the task from the moment I cross the start line, it will really take 1:30:30.
Anyway, I thought I had the start timed to perfection but after I crossed the line, even though I was heading on course for TP1, the PDA (flight computer) was pointing elsewhere. I stupidly didn’t put two and tow together and thought there was some malfunction so I continued on course for several minutes before I realized that I must not have made a valid start. I was pretty sure that I had seen a message that I had started the race but maybe it was for someone else. I was either a fraction early of I had climbed above the start max altitude of 1500 meters before I crossed the line. I should be able to determine that by examining my ICG file in SeeYou.
When I realized that I had made a false start, at first I was going to resign from the race, but a few seconds later I decided that I would race anyway. I’m glad that I did because it really was a fun race with enough wind to get some good lift on the high ridges. There were also some decent thermals and race strategy determined utilizing a combination of ridge lift and thermals.
My other big mistake in this race was to head for some lower ridges about half way along the second leg. There was a higher and steeper ridge to my right which I should have gone for instead. It turned out that the ridge I followed had only a gentle slope on the windward side. R. May passed over me near the end of the ridge. I decided to dump the ridge completely and was able to exit it to the right and point my nose down. If I had stuck with the ridge I would have had to fly much lower since I wasn’t far above ground level.