I'm getting pretty good at the rotisserie shower, almost no mosquito bites last night. Did I mention that there are no lights in the outside showers? It makes the view of the stars all that much more interesting. Every day when I get up the weather looks very much the same. It is getting warmer. This is a good thing as it improves the view here as the women wear less and less. So far, most of the guys with hairy backs have shown some restraint (keeping their shirts on).
We made it in last night by 8:15, which was much sooner than I would have thought. Ollie's friend, who had been abandoned by his driver was pretty close to our way home anyway though five sweaty pilots and a driver push the limits of modern day automobile ventilation systems.
Several pilots have been saying that the task have been too short. They want some task over 100 miles. There are plenty of us who are very pleased with the task and the job the task committee has done. It is a thankless job but one I am glad someone else is willing to do. They spend most of an hour every day choosing a task. Davis gave the weather report and said that all the predictions look a lot like earlier in the week. The winds were supposed to be lighter, but the lift was close to what we have been seeing all week. No clouds were predicted.
A 99 mile triangle task was called with a secondary task of 79 miles in case the day does not look good. Start times vary from 1:15 for the first rigids to 2:30 for the last flexies. When the launch windows open at 12:00, the day does not look very good. The air is very calm and there are high cirrus clouds that are shutting down the lift. The music starts again for musical task and when it stops we are told to do the secondary task and all start times are moved back 15 minutes. At 12:30 several wind dummies tow up and come right back down. Again the music starts and when it stops they have called a third shorter task of about 60 miles, and the start times are moved back another 15 minutes.
We really should be towing by 1:00 to get a good start time, but no one is willing to go first. Finally a wind dummy sticks and Campbell tows up at 1:30 with Jim Yocom 5 minutes later. There is still no rush to tow as these first pilots slowly sink. The rest of up get going a few minutes later, figuring we are all in the same boat and there is safety in numbers. There is almost nothing after the tow with the early pilots well below me. Slowly we find lift and start to climb. Suddenly we start to hit 400 and 500 up and we beam up to 4,000+. It's already well past our first start time and no one is really in a hurry to be first into the blue.
I lost my vario mount yesterday and had to buy a new one (there goes my dinner budget for the rest of the week). It did not fit my base tube very well and soon after the start my instrument pod was pointing straight down. I flew the rest of the task like this. I could not see my GPS and I could barley hear my vario. When I came to the turn points I would hold it level so I could read it long enough to get the turn point. Because of this I did not have a very enjoyable day.
Since I could not see my GPS I could only follow other gliders ahead of me. I tried to make left turns as much as possible because I could not hear my vario in a right turn. We (most of the pilots I could see) were doing much better than it first looked. Climbs were above 5,000'. Christoff joined up with me again and we flew together to the first turn point. Along they way we got low over Wallaby. There were several gliders turning so I thought there was lift. It turns out they were from Wallaby and on their way down. Rich Sauer warned me that when you fly from Quest, Wallaby is a sink hole and the reverse is true. I headed toward a large warehouse on hwy 27 and found a weak thermal that eventually got us back above 4,000'.
Christoff lost me somewhere near the first turnpoint. I was really struggling here and could not get above 3,000'. 1.5 miles from the turnpoint I saw most of the lead gliders coming my way. I ran to the turn point hoping that I could join up with them as they thermaled up. When I passed the turnpoint they were no where to be seen. I could not believe that 15 gliders (several flex wings had taken their first start and were flying with the rigids) could disappear so quickly. I flew most of the way to the second turn point by myself. Luckily I knew were it was by sight (Dean Still Road and hwy 33) and did not have to hold up my GPS to find it.
Just before the turnpoint I hooked up with Ollie. It was nice to find a familiar glider. He was low over a swamp. Stump was several miles ahead of us and stinking high. I was leaving it up to Ollie to find the lift and I would find the core. Another problem with the vario hanging vertically is it becomes very sensitive to airspeed changes. Changes in airspeed can make it sound like you are in lift. I was trying to work the cores by feel.
We finally got high (6,000') 13 miles out from goal (Quest, yeah, we were finally having goal back at Quest). On the glide in at 8 miles we took another thermal for 500' since our final glide computers were showing we would be a little short. I don't think we needed it as we both crossed goal more than 1000' high.
While we were still 17 miles out, James had radioed that Alex was crossing goal. That would put him 45 minutes ahead of us. It wasn't long after Alex when several more rigids crossed goal along with a couple of flex wings. Stump beat us by several minutes. I am guessing that Stump was 9th, Ollie 10th and me 11th, judging by the number of gliders at goal. Considering all my problems, I was very happy to make goal. It turns out that all the pilots sharing Mark's truck made goal today. John landed about an hour after us. This means that none of us will have to do the set up of shame tomorrow. (Rich started calling it that because when goal is back at Quest, if anybody sees you setting up your glider, they know you did not make goal).
Ron Gleason said he used the same vario mount as me and did not have any problems with it. He strapped it tight to his base tube and left it in the sun so it would form to the base tube. I did that to mine after I landed and I will leave it over night just for extra measure. I will also use a back up string tomorrow to prevent today's events from repeating themselves.
I will really enjoy getting up late tomorrow as none of us have to set up our gliders.
My track is red, Ollie green, Mark light blue and John purple. It is interesting that we all took different tracks to the first turnpoint.
I am sitting in the big tent where the food is served, finishing my report. When you look at all the pilots it looks kind of funny with all the hands in the air, animating their flights from today. It looks like a lot of people had a fun day.