Another good thermal day – with plenty of cumulus clouds – at WWGC2017, making our 10th task day (with another two looking likely). Tasks were again rather on the short side – Club Class had 258 km, which caused almost all pilots to mill around in the area of the start line for some 2 hours before starting. (On a day with 5+ hours of good soaring available, most serious contest pilots would prefer to be on task for most of that time.)
Sarah had a very good flight going until a missed thermal near the final turnpoint put her low and downwind at the start of the final leg. She recovered fairly well, but the cost was around 10 minutes, which gave her a score near 900 points instead of among the day winners. An additional problem was an area of sink on the final glide that put her 18 meters low at the finish (incurring an 18-point penalty) and prevented her from reaching the airfield. The excellent outlanding field we scouted during the practice period again came into play: she landed there with no problems, and it was again an easy retrieve. During disassembly we saw some gliders pass overhead, not all at comfortable heights; we later learned that all made it home safely (though in some cases with worried pilots).
Sarah’s reasonably good score allowed her to hang onto third place overall, not very far from second. Much will be decided in the final two days. But first place probably won’t: Ailsa McMillan from Australia has scarcely put a foot wrong during the entire contest. She has been much the most consistent pilot, and with her day win today her lead is 206 points, which looks safe. It’s worth noting that she is young enough to qualify for the upcoming Junior WGC in Lithuania – I expect she’ll attract some notice there as well.
The Zbraslavice maypole did indeed come down today, unfortunately while were at the airfield and not able to observe. I’d have enjoyed seeing how this seemingly difficult rigging feat was done (I’m pretty sure it did not involve any sort of expensive crane.)
John Good has been a member of the US Team at many World Gliding Championship events, serving as crew, Team Captain and report author. He was the Deputy Championship Director/ Task-setter at the 2012 WGC in Uvalde, Texas and brings a wealth of international rules knowledge as Captain.