By Henk Lunshof, Wednesday, October 16
Skydive Perris’ workers were completely stressed when they found the first CRW Dogs organising parachutes and preparing to skydive at 6am. Yes, it’s really true! These CRW jumpers do what they say! The staff’s plan to clean the packing area with a leaf blower, powered by a noisy gasoline engine, in the early hours of the day had to be modified because of all the CRW stuff lying around. Slowly, the rest of the 43 athletes and 2 cameraflyers began to emerge from the dark and prepare themselves for the first jump. The briefings from the previous day were quickly repeated before boarding the Skyvan and Twin Otter.
While the 25-way base practiced their formation, the row 6 and 7 jumpers did two 9- ways with run-backs. The other group claimed a 6-point dive. My group did at least 4, but it might have been 5. Essentially, these jumps were the starting point for the event, they let us know what our weakness are and how or where we could improve. Eduardo piloted our 9-way very well and got us back to the DZ by switching from run-backs to in-place rebuilds and turning the last formation back to the DZ while it was building. Thank you, Eduardo!
Jump 2, 3 and 4 of the day were 43-ways. The first 43-way jump (our second jump of the day) immediately gave us a World Record (of course, it had to be ratified by judges first) and gave us things to focus on as we improved. There was an issue with tension on the left side of the formation, so two people swapped sides for jump 3. This improved the tension issue, but there was still need to work on the time gaps between participants making their docks. When building a record formation, time is usually the determining factor. The faster each member flies to their slot, the quicker the next formation can be made and the more formations (= points) can be flown. It sounds simple, but it can be so difficult under the pressure of performing in a record dive.
Improvements on the timing issue came in jump 4. Unfortunately, thermals began to play a part, and so we had to stop building the third point. However, after a more than successful day, we were confident that we could break our new record the following day.
The early morning air of Thursday 17 offered us the smoothness we needed to fly that third point! After starburst, the sky was full of screaming CRW dogs, confident we had cracked it on this jump. For the fourth point we needed some extra woking time which was created by raising the exit point by 1000ft (305m). This, and the fact that the DZ is about 1500ft (457m) above sea level, put us on oxygen during the last few 1000ft (ca. 305m) of the climb. And YES we smashed the fourth point as well and with that exceeded the expectation of the organisers, Chris and Brian 😉
With the second jump of today we closed the first part of our three-day event, setting the new World Sequential Record. The third jump of today will be in preparation of our night jump tomorrow, a one point 42-Way dive.
This series of reports was made possible by cooperation with Seele and Mary Barratt. They worked some night hours (@home in Europe) and odd daytime hours to make sure the publications happened as quickly as possible. Thank you, Mary and Seele for this great Team Work!