Hazy conditions, no blue in the sky. Small, short-lived cumulus clouds popped up but longish runs to get to each one. Winds were cross but light. Released early from tow at 450’, at around half of the available tow road. First solid thermal out hit 5m/s, 3m/s sustained. Cloudbase was around 5000’ early on, but climbs slowed approaching base so left each thermal without getting to base. Dark colored, large fields were working, thermals were forming up in the center of the fields, not always at the downwind edge.
The downwind path was split by a continuous forested area lining the Kaskaskia River, so had to choose to fly on one side or the other. The clouds were better along the northern route, but the wind was pushing more towards the southern route. I went with the wind for the most part.
The early part of the flight tried to work every climb, even light lift. I wasn't sure how good the day was with the hazy conditions, but later in the flight started using the transitions more and only stopping for stronger lift.
Passed up a couple good thermals at the end of the flight due to bladder pressure. Still had probably another hour of lift to work. Total distance was 73 miles, previous best flight in the St. Louis area was 63 miles set two yeaars ago, also in June.
Richard McDermott towed for everyone. Also flying this day were Taylor Holland, Derek Bartlem, Reddy Gadipally and Lindsay Matush.
We are a group of paragliding pilots based in the St. Louis area.