The weather gods gave us sunshine and reasonable wind speeds, and the Task Setter gave us 3-circle AATs and reasonable minimum times. The delay in the launch was only 50 minutes, which we’ve come to expect.
Today, none of the guys managed to fly together, not even our pair flying experts Ryszard and Al.
Fernando bounced through an armadillo hole on takeoff, which flapped his wings violently enough to lose his wingrunner before he had aileron control. He released and landed straight ahead. This caused a small delay in the launch and caused Fernando to go to the back of the grid. By the time he got back in the air, he was unable to join his teammates.
Before the start, the thermals were inconsistent, topping out at different altitudes. Most pilots waited around for them to get organized, but this never happened, and you couldn’t really trust them all day. The Standard Class went through the gate around 2:30, and the 15 Meter Class about ten minutes later. The first leg was into the cirrus area and mostly into the wind. Average speeds for the leg were around 50 kph.
Ryszard and Al just touched the first and second circles. Al was later than Ryszard and decided to skip the last one, giving him an incomplete Task. Ryszard made it all the way around and was rewarded with a flat tire when he landed.
Phil, who got up to 2100 meters for his start, got in trouble immediately, and by the time the rest of the team was alerted to his plight, they were too far away to help. He landed in a field only half an hour on Task.
Juan joined the fast gaggle, and by going a little deeper in each assigned area, managed to beat them around the course. Robin struggled at first but climbed high in the second assigned area, allowing to glide all the way to the back of the third one and then home.
Like the others, Fernando spent the day without the company of his teammates. He did make use of information from Juan, who was about 30 km ahead of him, and from the ground, where we were monitoring the OGN tracking. He got high on his way out of the first area and didn’t circle again until just before the second. One more climb near the center of that one, and he glided all the way home. His credited distance was just about the nominal distance for the Task, and that turned out to be the longest distance of all, good for the win and 1000 points!
Tomorrow is the last day, and if it’s anything like the 2013 WGC, the closing ceremony will begin at around 8pm, and the farewell party will be just getting going at 10pm.
Rick has been flying gliders since 1967 and divides his interest between the Open Class and the 13.5 Meter Class.
He flies with the Post Mills Soaring Club in Vermont and serves as the US Delegate to the International Gliding Commission.