For pretty much the first time during this contest, Pocuiani enjoyed a beautiful morning and a brilliant weather forecast. The air was clear and crisp (overnight low was around 43 F) and as we filed into the hangar for our morning pilot briefing, cumulus clouds were beginning to build in all directions. Tasks were set to match: they were the longest of the contest (up to 460 km) and took pilots far southwest into Poland.
Conditions on course were generally good, but (as winning speeds show) not quite as good as the optimistic forecast suggested. The culprit was just a bit too much cloud, in the form of cumulus that spread extensively and cut off the sun. The Standard Class had the most trouble, and saw 11 outlandings, some few of them a long way from home. (Bob Fletcher landed 183 km from home as the crow flies – which turns out to be around 3.5 hours as the van with trailer drives. Much of the Polish part of this journey was on Highway 61, about which Bob Dylan would no doubt have had some well chosen words.)
A couple of days of good weather have definitely helped the condition of the airfield. But it’s unmistakably showing the effects of three weeks of intense use in wet conditions. (Large areas of mud and standing water can be navigated only with care.) I imagine it will need several weeks to recover full health. But it’s the veteran of many glider contests, has seen all this before, and will no doubt again look pristine for next year’s World Junior Gliding Championship.
No further official word on the FAI flag has emerged. Contest officials seem to be less concerned than yesterday, which the uninformed (that’s most of us here) take to imply that the necessary negotiations are proceeding and there’s a good chance the flag will re-appear in time for the closing ceremony Sunday.