I only have 24 hours to file my protest, so this morning I did. This is all new to me and I am curious how the process will work. Paul Tjaden won the day, which I believe is a first for him. If the protest committee can work out something equitable, that would be great.
The local Baptist church provided breakfast this morning for the pilots. Everyone seemed happy about the free food.
Yesterday's task was not that difficult for the rigid wing gliders, all but two made goal. It was a lot harder for the flex wings. Their glide ratio was just barely enough to make it from cloud to cloud. One mistake and they were on the ground. Only about 1/6th of the flex wing pilots made goal.
The weather today is supposed to be better than yesterday. A 69 mile triangle was called for the rigids and a 64 mile triangle for the flexies. Cloud base was low at the start (5,000', 2,500'agl) but rising to 7,000' later in the day. The lift was supposed to be stronger at 400 to 500 fpm.
I was first to tow and Rhett gave me a wild ride in a thermal. He was banking and cranking and I was just holding on. When I pinned off I was in 400 fpm lift, the best I have had at the start this week. Cloud base was indeed low, but the lift seemed pretty good so I decided to take the first start. Russell, Davis and Johann took the first start as well. Right away we got really low and had to go way off course line to get lift. If you look at the my track log you can see the large body of water that was probably killing the lift.
The four of us worked together to the first turnpoint. The lift was weak and the cloud bases were even lower than yesterday, 2,500' agl. You could not miss a thermal or you would be on the ground. Davis was charging ahead most of the time. It looked like he wanted to win big time. After the first turnpoint, the other three pilots took a line to the left with Davis in the lead. I decided that a line more to the right looked better. It is a tough decision to leave the gaggle, but I just had a feeling it was better to the right. Luckily I was correct. I hit great lift. The other three came in under me 1,000' below. Johann caught the lift, Russell searched for a while and caught something, and I heard that Davis landed soon after.
Johann caught up to me at the second turnpoint and charged ahead. I left a thermal one 360 ahead of me and for the next 24 miles I could not catch up. Russell was about one thermal behind. 16 miles out from goal I was 1,500' agl and about 1,500' under Johann when I hit my hail Mary thermal. It was 800+ fpm all the way to 7,800'. I was able to dolphin fly for the next 5 miles. 10 miles from goal my vario indicated I had goal by 1600'. In the next 2 miles it dropped to 1,000'. I thought I could not make it so I wasted 2 minutes to get another 500' of altitude. I say wasted because I ended up crossing goal by 1,500'. I was a little over one minute behind Johann. Had I not stopped to climb, I may have beaten him, but he deserved to win. He was flying well today and making good decisions.
At least 5 of the rigid wing pilots did not make goal. As I write this, 5 of the flexies have made goal. I am going to post early today and head out to dinner. Maybe I can get to bed tonight at a decent hour.
You can see the lake that I think was killing the lift in the lower part of my track log. We really had to go out of our way to stay in the air.
Randy took some pictures today, but I will download them and post them later.