A more complicated and difficult day today, but one that worked. Once again the forecast offered good thermal conditions with cumulus clouds, followed by an early end to the day that might include thunderstorms, east winds, smoke and dust.
In the face of this the launch was set to begin early (11:00) and tasks were short. This seemingly sensible combination doesn’t really work. Pilots all like the idea of getting home before trouble begins, but the advantage of starting behind the others is quite often large enough to create a strong temptation to chance a late start, even when it might prove to be difficult to finish.
This was well illustrated in Standard Class today. The three Czech pilots have mostly been starting early, which has not yielded great results. Today, they were much the latest starters, crossing the line not long before 2pm for a 3.5 hour task on a day predicted to have bad wether by 4:30. With this seemingly risky strategy they succeeded brilliantly, taking the first three places with excellent speeds.
Sarah adopted a more tactically clever approach which did not produce a speed or score to match the Czechs, but did extend her overall lead. She only just managed to get home in good conditions, having a much easier final leg and finish than pilots only a short ways behind, who consequently had to deal with a deteriorating sky.
In Club Class, Kathy and Sylvia once again had their best day of the contest. They again chose an early start – and made it work. They finished comfortably ahead of the predicted difficult weather, which then caught and slowed a number of other Club Class pilots. Their efforts were good for 930 points / 6th place (Kathy) and 923 points / 8th place (Sylvia).
Around 7pm Thursday evening the brewing storms sent strong winds to the airfield, creating a wild scene of blowing dust, with trailers and outdoor gliders looking vulnerable. There was at least one report of a canopy blown open, and even gliders inside hangars got a significant dose of dust.
Follwing this, we had rain – for the third night in a row. The total accumulation for all three nights is probably less than 6mm (1/4 inch) but this might be enough to have a tiny effect on local vegetation.