We had another dose of weird weather today. The key feature was an unusual line of lift, probably controlled by wave generated by interaction between low-level southerly winds and the upper-level northwest cloud-steering winds (there’s no wave-generating terrain anywhere near Szeged).
This unusual line set up early and persisted to the end of the day. It was located at the western limit of the task, and its (northeast – southwest alignment forced pilots who connected with it to deviate far from the direct line between turn areas. But it stayed in place and offered about the only reliably strong lift to be found anywhere in the task area today. Outside this narrow band – and in contrast to a fairly good weather forecast offered at the morning pilot briefing – climbs were mostly weak, low and troublesome.
US Team pilots Michael Marshall and J.P. Stewart managed to connect with this curious feature, on their initial leg, and did well with it; Daniel Sazhin and Noah Reitter did not, and followed a more direct route with weaker conditions. None of our pilots made the large detour necessary to connect with this line late in the day, as it looked like something of a “death dive” would be needed to reach it. But this was the only way to get good distance in the final turn area, and was a feature of all the flights that achieved good scores today.
Leigh’s connection to soaring and competition is through her husband, SZ, for whom she’s crewed for 44 years. She’s a passionate supporter of the US Teams and loves contest reporting. She currently resides in both Steamboat Springs, Co. and Greenville, SC.