Today the forecast was for lower climbs and 10-15 kts of wind at the top of lift. We went to launch & had light winds on the Northeast launch. A task was called from The Butte Launch to Okanagan, 42 miles. This flight took us due North and was very critical when it came to decision making. We had the option of shooting East, across the gorge, to hit the flats upwind of the course line and then fly the flats all the way to the goal; or to head North, over some hilly territory near the Chelan Airport, and then cross the river near Brewster and continue directly to goal.
I launched early again. I had little problem staying up, but many other pilots got caught in some substantial down cycles & had to land before the start. With only a few minutes to go to the start, I had gotten high but was North of the start cylinder, so I headed back South to hit the edge of the cylinder just as the 1300 start time elapsed. I turned North on course and was gratified to see about half the field, heading to the airport along with me. I don’t like being in the lead, from a strategic standpoint, so I was loafing along at trim speed to let some of the comp gliders get ahead. We soon were getting low but found a good core that gave us enough altitude to continue searching.
We pressed on Northward, until we hit Brewster. There I got distracted and all my thermal buddies got higher than I. I tried to find the lift they had climbed away from me with, but all I found was unorganized lift and sink. I continued on course until I finally, about 12 miles from goal, had to land.
I hiked out a few miles to get to a sign the tell retrieve folks what road I was on & soon a ride appeared.
The other option was explored by a gaggle who took the first crossing to the flats right after the start. They had good success and rejoined the other gaggle North of where I went down.
Mike Steed is leading the pack and Kieth McCullough is the top Canadian.
Today was very exciting, because I really felt I was flying well & staying with the good pilots on the best comp wings. I was also making good decisions that kept me in the race for 20 miles – Until I didn’t. Once I lost close contact with my thermal buddies, and allowed them to get away from me with 11 miles to go, that was the beginning of the end. I made a ‘Hail Mary’ dive into a likely spot for a thermal but had no love this day & made an uneventful landing.
There were 41 in goal today and I only got 320 points for the day, which moves me from 29th to 39th overall. Tomorrow will be a better day & I’ll have figured out what the heck I was thinking when I let it get away from me.
Cherie Silvera won the day, with Mike Steed not far behind.
I've dropped from 29th to 39th overall & from 4th to 8th in the Serial class, so I hope we get to fly again on Sat.
Results are HERE.
My flight is HERE
It's Friday morning and the winds are howling, so I doubt we'll fly today.
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