WGC Hosin, Day 11 Aug. 9. A little rain overnight and a bit cooler today. Similar forecast as yesterday with chance of some OD and showers later. Racing tasks around 400km for the contestants. 11:30 launch postponed a couple of times, but they are launching now. #ussoaringteams
PWR back seat
The weather forecast was very good and very bad depending on who’s you looked at. Turned out to be no storms, lots of high clouds, and large blue holes. Again I have to commend the task setting because they are excellent at setting fun fast runs, slow runs, and nail biting blue holes.
We started because we slid out of the crazy gaggle. Turns out EB/WB were a little ahead too, so we just went out also, DT about 2 min behind. We called out climbs to help him catch us as we were at the tail end of a fast moving pack. However on the blue at high speed we lost the JS1s cruising over 100. We rounded the first turn with a few markers and not a lot of clouds. The second leg was challenging with lots of dead air. We stopped at a weaker climb then we wanted however it was the last part of a downwind leg before a very long into the wind run. Turns out to have been the best idea we had, next thing we know we are looking out and seeing 2 long wingers below us ahead. We push on and are gaining on them, clearly we were not informed it was time to downshift.
Bad day for Germany as PWR pulled in above them.. They started cruising a little faster after about 80km and we would fall off on the glide and try and catch them on the climb. We then ran with them for most of that leg, until eventually they got a bubble we missed and pulled away.
But now we had a lot of other markers. Back into the blue again we got a few more climbs and made a conservative final glide as it was our first time with a substantial headwind.
We watched 2 gliders fall off glide and head for fields.
Yesterday’s over development wasn’t quite done with us last night, as a pretty strong cell rolled through Hosin after dinner. The winds toppled the team radio antenna; fortunately no one was hurt. After this morning’s briefing, HW made it airworthy again (Tessa tape fixes everything), and the gang got it re-masted.
It should have worked.
Really. Climbers south of course, climbers well north of course, and reports of active air at the closed airport near the steering turn. After a long glide in the blue, the group I was with took a hard left turn to the climbers north, and that for sure was the safe play. And after a strong flight having made up several minutes on the gliders around me, in hindsight I should have gone with them. But even a weak climb straight on course would have gotten me home well ahead of the deviating pack. So, a sporting risk, decisively taken, and I can’t be too upset with myself for that.
But it didn’t work. Not a bump reaching the turn, and then a brisk headwind for the final glide that also made working anything down low very difficult. A tractor plowing a field next to my would-be landing yielded half a knot that kept us up, but even when it strengthened to a full knot the wind was blowing us further below glide. And yes, nearly every 18m glider passed me while I toiled, embarrassingly, less than 20km from the runway. Eventually I got enough to squeak into the finish cylinder, but with a small penalty for being low. And then of course all sorts of lift between the edge of the cylinder and the end of the runway–ha!
Despite the final scene, it was another fun and stimulating flight here in a contest that’s had many. We had convergence and climbs over 9000′ before the start, long glides on the first two legs with choppy thermals but a couple of strong cores, and some tricky geometry around the third turn in the foothills where some later folks caught up. And then the end of clouds and blue smoothness the rest of the way. Kudos to the winners for cracking the code…
Melanie is strictly ground crew (N1K), but is an avid lover of the sport. She is the ussoaringteams.org web master and loves new ideas so feel free to ask questions, offer suggestions, and give her additional content!