After a day off yesterday, the team was ready to go back at it today.
The forecast was for a manageable north wind and weak low thermals without cumulus. This is exactly what we got. The Tasks were both bowtie-shaped AATs (i.e. three circular areas, instead of the usual two), and the minimum times were 2.5 hours.
The only thing the Organisers never get right is the trigger time. The Director is a pretty busy guy each morning, and I suspect that he chooses the time of first launch before the weatherman completes his forecast. Anyway, after an hour of sniffer flights, the launch got underway, and almost all the gliders made their starts by 2pm. The pre-start climbs were slow, and with maximum altitudes of only 1000 meters, everyone dumped their water.
Our team flew well together, and did a good job helping each other around the course. But the truth is that we stumbled strategically today. The 15 Meter guys bit off more than they could chew and came home 30 – 45 minutes overtime. The Standards were similarly late, but they did much better in a relative sense, because there were only four finishers in that class. Ryszard made it home for third place, and Al, who flew the greatest distance of all, landed only 9 km short of the finish line.
Fernando’s crew, Gabriel Anzil, is also the team chef. He planned to cook a team dinner at US Base this evening, contingent upon everyone making it back. It was such a close call, that Gabi (the crew) refused to say whether Gabi (the chef) was available until shortly after 6pm. At that point he started cooking and only two hours later produced a feast for the team and our guests, about 25 people in all. If it weren’t for the fact that tomorrow is a flying day, that party would probably still be going.
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.