Back to some good racing weather – with cumulus clouds, light winds, minimal dust, good lift and good speeds. It was also cool, with a high temperature around 95 F (after a long stretch of 105, 95 actually does seem cool). If you had to crab it, you could bring up the fact that cloud bases were generally a bit lower than has been typical, and the forecast included a threat of smoke problems from nearby fires (fortunately of an extent not nearly that of the ones – mostly south of Sydney – making international headlines). In the event, the smoke proved no more than a minor issue.
In Club class, Kathy and Sylvia today started behind the pack, got separated, and weren’t able to achieve the sort of speed they have been getting used to. Both were right at 100 kph – competitive on many days, but today about 10% better was needed for good scores.
The big story for the US Team was an excellent speed – and a big mistake – by Sarah in Standard Class. She was having a very good run around an Area Task with a minimum time set at 3 hours 45 minutes. Heading into the third turn area (well to the west) conditions were deteriorating. She made the plan to turn early and head for the high ground northwest of home, which on many days produces great lift and offers a fast route home. This plan worked – much too well. The high ground was working famously, and her 110-km run home along it was done at excellent speed, without circling. The result was a finish after just 3 hours 26 minutes on task – 19 minutes early. Under the rules, she is scored as if she’d flown for the minimum time, which has the effect of turning her 140 kph speed into 128 kph, and daily first place into sixth. It’s very satisfying to fly really fast, and very frustrating not to get the score your speed should be worth.