Based on DHV Info 122, Dietrich Muenchmeyer
Ideal wind conditions for good XC in flatlands is 20 km/h. Which can give one a 40km/h average.
With a winch launch one got maybe 2-3 minutes to find a thermal.
Important to communicate between the pilots to establish the trigger points to get away.
Even with weak wind do not fly wind upwards to find a thermal after releasing.
If you feel a thermal during tow, release and take it.
Any change in contour can be a thermal trigger for a winch site. Some
trees, a hangar, ...
As long as you do not sink, stay in it. Do not leave a weak, zero lift thermal low to find something better.
The fields around your launch site, along with the vegetation and the
season can differ the thermal triggering.
Young green Corn and raps , green, do not generate thermals.
While when they are ripe they become ideal thermal creators.
Mealie maize grows slow in dry soil, good thermal creator, while once ripe, not so good anymore.
Stay in your first thermal until cloudbase ( or ceiling )
Even when you think the thermal is weakening or stops and you are not on top yet. Hang around until it picks up.
If you fall out of the thermal, loose it, immediately initiate a tight
270 degree turn.
With any little bit of wind there is one golden rule to find the next
thermal. And that is with the wind, downwind.
At cloudbase decide where the next thermal has to be and go straight for it. Once the vario beeps, turn immediately.
One can always center the thermal better. If you missed it, turn back only if there was really lift.
Sometime you got clouds which are off the straight downwind path and look much closer, compared to clouds straight downwind.
Ignore them, the chances are less to reach them.
On blue thermal days one can also determine in the inversion layer where
the thermals are.
More on XC and winching , have a look at Winch Tips http://stpxml.sourceforge.net/skygod/Airmanship/winchtips.html