This year the Spanish Paragliding Championship – Open FAI was going to be held in the northern region of Navarre, in the area known as Arangoiti, organized by the Club Alas de Leyre. This club is also in charge of organizing the Liga Norte every year, which usually has tasks happening in that same place.

Flying in Arangoiti, above Yesa Reservoir. Photo by Rakel Albeniz

Part of the magic of paragliding lies the fact that it depends not only on the human factor, but also the environment in which it takes place plays a crucial role in pilots’ performance. It is so much so, that bad weather can make flying impossible.

If this happens any weekend, it’s time to look for alternative plans and resign yourself to not flying. But if the meteorology isn’t good during a national championship, there is no other thing to do but think fast and take decisions. And in doing that Alas de Leyre Club are more than efficient.

Briefing before the first task. Photo by Rakel Albeniz

The first competition day, on the 21st of July, took place in Arangoiti as planned. The weather made the 53.8 km task start quite late, but it ended without any issues, with Francisco Javier Reina finishing the task first, in 1h 46minutes. Only 8 pilots reached the goal, and picking up the rest of them was quite tricky.

On the second day, the task had to be canceled because of the bad weather, and the forecast in Arangoiti was also not flyable for the following days, so it was time to look for a solution. And the organizers decided to move the competition to Castejon de Sos (Huesca), with the necessary logistic changes.

Taking off in Liri, Castejón de Sos. Photo by Rakel Albéniz.

The decision paid off with 3 good tasks in Castejon de Sos, all of them longer than the one in Arangoiti, with hard conditions and quite strong thermals on the 23rd and 24th. The 74 km of the task on the 23rd, second of the championship, were completed in 1h 42 m by Simon Mettetal in the first place.

Climbing from the takeoff of Liri in Castejon

The next day, Francisco Javier Reina won the first position of the task and took the lead of the championship, finishing the 108 km in 2h 45m.

The favorable weather provided good cloud bases and little wind on the 25th, for a very fast 80.4km task, won by France’s Simon Mettetal in less than 1h 43m.

On the 26th and 27th, the weather was bad again in every area… so the organizers decided to cancel both tasks and terminate the championship, with the award ceremony on the 26th.

Final podium.

Francisco Javier Reina became the champion both of the Nats and the Open, with Xavier Pujol second and Felix Rodriguez third. The three pilots competed with Ozone Enzo 3 paragliders. The female champion is Maite Moreno.

Summing up, this was a peculiar championship, due to the change of location once the event had started. But thanks to the accurate decisions and the effective organization (Alas de Leyre Club), the event could be held. It was streamed live and it could also be followed on Flymaster site.

To see the full ranking, videos and more photos:https://www.facebook.com/arangoiti2019/ https://airtribune.com/arangoiti2019/results