The main problem when flying against the wind is that, in fact, flying does not take the largest share of time.
A typical situation is when you dial 15 minutes under the base at a speed of 1.5 m / s, and then in 5 minutes you merge everything down -3. All these 15 minutes in the thermal you blow the wind back from the target. In order to successfully fly against the wind, strong currents are needed.
Flying against the wind is particularly demanding on pilot skill. It is necessary to find a powerful core, it is unacceptably long to dangle in zeros. If you are climbing in a weak lifting, you must understand whether you are getting a lot of benefit from the lifting, or whether wind drift brings it to naught. In order to understand this, it is necessary to monitor the change in the angle between the earth's surface and the direction to the target. This angle is shown in the figure.
If this angle increases, everything is fine - you get the benefit by rising in the stream. If it decreases - everything is useless, being in a stream, you move away from the target. This, of course, does not mean that we must throw the stream and go forward in order to land closer to the goal. It is possible that a weak stream will intensify after a while, and you will catch up on your own. This angle just gives you information on how much the flow rate is related to the wind strength. On my MLR device, it is displayed on the main screen used in flight. True, it is not the angle itself that is displayed, but its tangent - the ratio of distance to height. This ratio is referred to as GR - Glide Ratio. Knowing this number, you can also estimate whether you reach a point or not. In still air, the ratio of the distance traveled to decrease is the aerodynamic quality, for most paragliders it is approximately 8. The headwind, as well as the descending winds, reduces this number - you can figure out how much, knowing what about that day there is approximately wind and drain between the streams.
In the headwind and in the downward direction, it is advantageous to squeeze out the speed bar. Read about it, if you’re not already in the know, in the explanations about the polar. From the analysis of the polar it also follows that with a fair wind, and also when you are supported, you need to reduce the speed of the wing in order to reduce the decrease. In competitions where speed is important, no one will deliberately slow down - and perhaps in vain. Reaching faster to the stream, you will lose time, gaining the height that you have excessively squandered. And your comrade, who has tightened the brakes, will fly into the stream later than you and sit on your roof. And thereby will be the winner. Gliders even came up with a whole theory of how to choose the transition speed, and derived a formula. True, in this formula appear such quantities as the average rate of climb, the height of the base and the average distance between the flows. As you can see, these calculations are infinitely far from the paraglider pilot, who is more concerned about how to get to the next stream without landing on the road.