The dragonfly takes and evening flight.
Last night David Glover held a pizza party at the hotel pool. Judging by the amount of empty pizza boxes and beer cans, I would say it was quite a success.
Only three rigids made it in yesterday and six flex wings. The competition continues to be one of survival and luck. Low cloud bases and weak lift do not make the best racing days. This morning looks like yesterday morning with a clear sky and winds out of the south. If the blip maps are correct, we should have the best day yet. I may even have to put on an extra sweater.
Given the prediction for stronger winds, the task for today was an 88 mile downwind task to the north. Launch and start times were the same as days past. At the 12:30 there were no clouds and the day did not look promising. All times were pushed back 30 minutes. There were still no clouds at 1:00 but we had to get going.
Lift at the start was very week. It took me 20 minutes just to get back to my tow height. We were supposed to get to 7,000 by 1:00, but we were stuck at 5,000. By the second start time we were up to 6,000 and a few clouds had started so show out on course. Most of the rigids stayed close together for the first 20 miles. The clouds kept popping up in front of us when we needed them. 58 miles from goal I decided to break from the gaggle and take my own line to the right of everyone else. I flew by myself for the rest of the task.
The tailwind was great and on glide I was averaging about 58 mph. The climbs got better, 400 to 500 fpm, sometimes a little more with tops close to. I could see the lead gaggle off to my left most of the time. We would change leads at each thermal. At 44 miles from goal I went out into the blue. I was still finding lift and making good progress. 24 miles from goal I was getting low and spent 15 minutes trying to climb up. This cost me the lead. I finally gave up and headed toward goal and hit 500 fpm a mile later. 17 miles from goal I climbed to 8,000' and went on glide. Lift and sink averaged out and I made goal with 900'.
The lead gaggle had beat me in. I could see 5 gliders ahead of me. It was a good day for the rigids. All but one of the rigids made it to goal. We all flew well. It seemed the first 6 gliders crossed goal within 8 minutes of each other. About 40 minutes after the rigids landed the first flexies crossed. There were about 20 flexies at goal.
Where my track log jogs to the right is where I went off on my own.
There are a lot of cotton tails around the airport. They have been using the cars as cover from the raptors.
Photo's courtesy of Randy, the Vince report roving photographer.