by Steve Cannistra
Early arrivals for this United Diamonds Camp on Friday afternoon were treated with jumpable weather and two good quality multi point 4-ways. The weather forecast was iffy at best for the weekend (again) and the turnout wasn't the best.
The skies were ominous on Sat. but 8 dedicated jumpers arrived on time and were in the air at 8:00 am. The group consisted of flyers of various skill levels and the 8-way arrowhead came together slow and smooth well over 6,000' and a real positive feeling took over this otherwise gloomy day. "Starburst , Starburst", was echoed down and on the break, everyone broke - but two seconds later two of the regulars were in a wrap. It required two cutaways. Both jumpers landed safely. None of the other jumpers saw the cause of the wrap and in the debrief both involved (the row 3 wing and his lockup) thought they each did their job so its tough to pin blame. In any event the jump is not over until everyone lands safely. We can't get lulled into complacency.
Three more regulars showed up but that was to be the only load of the day as the ceiling lowered and the occasional rains came.
A baby shower/party was thrown for the Matrones and Basirs Sat. eve with lots of neat baby gifts and food and drink for all. Special thanks to Laura and many of the regulars at United.
Sunday morning brought fog, an ominous sky and a 100 jump wonder from the last camp who was expected on Saturday. After the required verbal abuse, one-bounce shenanigans and videos, a couple of jumpers decided to leave. Too bad for them because twenty minutes after they left the skies brightened, we dirt dove and got a ten minute call from manifest. At that point our 100 jump wonder thought it might be a good time to pack the main he has had for the past month. So on jump number 1 we had only 9 instead of 10.
It started with a good base/pin, good row 2 wing, a slow but steady point to the 4-way and a good row 3 left wing. The row 3 right wing was OK but a poor grip required another approach. The left wing got locked up OK and the right wings lock-up rushed his approach and missed his dock. Meanwhile there seemed to be a lot of chatter in the formation and before you knew it the right wing and the left wings lock-up were dropped. Another row 3 wing docked and he got locked up but the formation never built beyond 7. The breakdown went uneventfully.
Jump number 2 started with an OK base/pin, wedge and slow but steady point to the 4-way. The row 3 right wing was good and the left wing missed. His lock-up cycled up and took the wing and the wing recovered quickly and docked a quick, clean lock-up. The lock-up for the right wing docked on the point but had trouble being handed out to the wing. It was a 150 locking up a 175 and 200. Its certainly been done before but for some reason was a problem this time. Eventually the right wing got dropped and that was the end of this build.
Jump number 3 started with a couple of off heading openings which resulted in a slow base/pin. It took a couple of attempts for the row 2 wing and then the 150 did a good job on the point of the 4-way locking up two 175s. The row 3 left wing went well, the right wing missed on his first approach and docked on his second. The left wing lock-up had trouble this time and Chuck Strong, being the right wing lockup and desperately wanting his CCS, waited for the his counterpart to dock. The wings hung out there forever. After a while there was a lot of rockin and a rollin and finally we had to break it down.
That was it for jumping this weekend.
Persistent poor weather can really quell enthusiasm and cause jumpers to be less than current. This definitely slows the learning curve.
Frank, Ted and others devote a lot of time and energy to put on a good camp. They deserve a better turnout than they have been getting. If you have improved your flying because of these camps then you owe them a phone call if you are going to be a no-show. And you owe it to them to show up on time and packed.
There will be CReW at United on the weekend of Aug. 17, 18 and there will be CReW at the Herd boogie on Labor Day weekend so get out and jump.
The next regularly scheduled camp will be Sept. 13,14,15. Lets have a good turnout and pray for good weather!