Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Chelan XC Open - Day 1 - Task 1

Chelan Day One - Task 1

Today's forecast looked very good so anticipation was high at launch. We assembled a bit early to ensure that the rides to the top were adequate for the entire group. That meant that we spent two and a half hours killing time, socializing, checking out set-up, then checking it again. The lift forecast called for lower top-of-climbs than Saturday, but the winds aloft were forecast to be light until the Souterlies kicked in later. I took some time to review my goal for the day & this contest in particular. The flats can be tricky when the winds kick in and cloud bands can also require a gear change until the lift increases. My goals for the day were to get to goal & not make mistakes that put me in a "hole" that delays or dirts me. . .

The task was a short one - 63 kilometers (38 miles) that took us East to Simms Junction then North to Leahy. I launched early and got up easily, about 50 minutes before the start time. The thermals got rather crowded and tense prior to the start but sense prevailed. My start was spot on, I wasn't high guy but I was in the front and plenty high when I made it to the rim on the other side of the Columbia. None of the gliders ahead were turning in lift so I headed North a bit to reach a few gliders turning in weak lift. This turn took me to a sunny area and cut the corner so I made up some time on all the guys ahead of me who, eventually, came over also. Things went well for the next 20 miles & I wasn't far behind the lead gaggle until I got within 5 miles of Simms.

There was quite a shuffle in the lead gaggle as Marty, Dean, and many others got low & eventually landed near the turn-point. A few caught a ripper while many gliders were dirting in the shadow over Simms so I changed gears and took any & all climbing opportunities so that I could stay in the air until the sun-band came along. The low climb rate allowed the wind to take me NW (downwind) of the course line, which was very frustrating to watch, but I needed to stay in the air to make goal, so I took the slow climbs. Eventually my patience paid off & I caught a ripper that allowed me to get high enough to penetrate to the Simms turnpoint and turn back to the lift.

The wind that had been my nemesis for 35 minutes then became my friend. I climbed to 7000' and saw 7:1 glide required to goal, so I headed to goal. I pushed full speed-bar and kept it in until the end of the speed section 11 kilometers later. At times I saw 75 kM (46 mph) groundspeed.

The goal had many pilots already in the field but it was nice to start the comp with a flight to goal. I don't know the standings yet, but the scores will be HERE. It sounds like Jeff Wishney won the day and there were 25-30 in goal. I'm currently in 4th in the Serial class & 26th overall.

My flight is HERE.

The Tuesday forecast looks marginal due to winds, but I'll be ready if we fly.

Tim

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