Today Patrick had a bunch of us SLOSA guys meet him at Cuesta for a site clinic. Although I've many flights at the site, I knew that Pat's extensive palette of strategies exceeded mine & I would leave with some info that would be valuable. There were 10 of us at launch at 10:30 am. The wind was clocked at 12-18 mph so we did a walkabout to view the various launch options & top-landing spots. Patrick did a great job of talking about the site in a way that the newbies could use, while including info that more experienced pilots could use.
The wind was less stiff at the lower launch so Dave S. launched there. I walked back to the top launch & it felt like the wind was lulling enough to allow a launch there. I set up while Dave flew the ridge. Try #1 (which usually is sufficient) was just ugly - the wing came up & I didn't control it properly. It overshot while I turned & frontalled - flailing behind me. I gathered it up & reset only to bring the wing up with a healthy stick in the right side lines. I pulled the "C's" but lost one of them so only one side of the wing was killed. The flying side took me for a ride into the scrub to the left of the launch chute, landing me ingloriously on my ass. Keith assisted my reset & finally, after 20 minutes of ineptitude, I slipped the surly bounds.
Once in the air I was having fun. The air was a bit choppy and the wind on the ridge was 8-10mph, but lift was abundant to the inversion at 2600'. I worked the full extent of the ridge and then was able to repeatedly press out front & then climb in thermals drifting back to ridge.
Eventually I headed out to the LZ only to blunder across a nice weak thermal at about 400' over the bluffs near the LZ. I playfully worked the lift until I found a core & then climbed to around 2000' before exploring a bit farther West. Eventually I found the LZ & landed.
A rocky start but an hour of fun flying.