No long grid-squatting session was needed today. We mustered 70 gliders at 11:30 in time for a scheduled noon launch, which (as expected) was soon postponed to 12:30. Sun was on the ground, but with the same soggy airmass as the past two days we suspected that at least a couple more hours of heating would be needed to generate anything resembling usable lift. It looked like another long wait.
But a large area of dark cloud came into view northwest, marching in our direction. Tops built quickly; thunder and lightning rumbled. It looked hopeless for anything resembling fair & safe flying, and we all were expecting the day to be cancelled in time to get gliders into their trailers. This announcement eventually was made, about 20 minutes after it had become inevitable. Then began a mad dash back to the parking area and a race with the problem weather. A good many gliders got wet before they could be got under cover, but the rain and wind were not severe and it appears the rush did not produce any big problems.
The end of all this was a third straight no-fly day, and current forecasts do not seem to be offering great hope for tomorrow.
With gliders packed safely away, most crews and pilots departed for Trakai Castle, about an hour’s drive east of Pociunai. This impressive structure, first completed around 1409, sits on an island in Lake Galvé and is perhaps Lithuania’s best-known and most-visited scenic attraction. Also of interest is the World Rowing Junior Championship, currently underway at this same lake. (We have a certain measure of envy for a sport that can confidently expect races to happen in cloudy and even rainy conditions.)
I went shopping this afternoon. An item on my list was “3 small bottles of vodka” – one to be carried in each of our US Team gliders. It seems that on the first competition day one pilot landed in the field of an unfriendly farmer, which led to a awkward retrieve. It’s confidently believed that a high percentage of Lithuanian and Polish farmers will exhibit a distinct attitude improvement when offered a present of vodka.
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.