Today’s forecast resembled yesterday’s, but with a higher chance of storm problems predicted for late in the day. The organizers took note of this: for both classes 3-hour area tasks were set, and the launch was begun early.
An Australian innovation provides for a start closing time: if this is set, any pilot who starts after the designated closing time is scored as if the start took place at that time. This was used today, and the start closing time was just 30 minutes after the start opened (12:50 in the case of Club class, compared to normal task start times of 2 pm and later). This provided a strong incentive to get going, and indeed everyone was on their way promptly.
The early start and short tasks proved to be good choices: the predicted afternoon weather problems threatened, but held off until nearly everyone was home. Sadly, a dust devil wind event during a landing caused an incident (pilot okay, some damage to glider, including a broken canopy) that mars the previously damage-free record of this contest.
In general, lift was neither as strong nor as high as on most previous days, and speeds were down a bit. It was a very good day for Kathy, who achieved her best daily score of the contest (915 point from a speed just shy of 100 kph – very good going for a Libelle).
Everyone is impressed with the weather Lake Keepit served up this year: 12 first-rate soaring days surrounding one mandatory rest day (which itself would have been flyable, albeit substandard). The Club Class winner is Alan Barnes, one of the genuine local experts (and contest weatherman) who built up a formidable lead with brilliant flights early in the contest. The Sport Class winner is Adam Wooley, who impressed everyone by scarcely putting a foot wrong on any flight. Against a strong field, over 11 contest tasks he recorded nine daily wins, one second and one fifth. Look for him to be a serious contender at future World competitions.
Kudos are owed to the entire Lake Keepit contest organization, headed by Competition Director Mandy Temple. Due to their efforts – and conspicuously good weather – we’re eagerly looking forward to the Women’s World Gliding Championships, just a year from now.