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Friday, July 13, 2012

13.5 Meter Super Regionals Day 3

Well we awoke this morning to a thick blanket of fog in the area. Some of my best soaring days have happened on foggy mornings so I was optimistic.  Amy is gone now so Leah and I were back to our old ways of rigging with the two of us, which still went quickly and we were finished before it got too hot. No one mentioned at the pilots meeting that it was Friday the 13th. but we did hear form Francois and Kevin about how they won the day on Day 2. Daniel showed that the forecast was pretty optimistic but he was not quite as optimistic.

Hank Claybourn on the grid providing good luck
We gridded at noon again and started the launch by 12:30, it was our turn at the front of the grid so we were in the first wave. Thankfully the gate was opened a lot earlier today, at 1:20 I think, and I was off shortly after that, but not without some trouble. I got low enough down by Maypearl before the start that I couldn't make it back to TSA, this was about the time the gate opened I think, but thankfully I managed to find a thermal and climb back up to a semi-respectable altitude and with some gaggling help from Glenn in 508 I was on my way.

On the Grid

I decided that I did not want to go west of a line down the center of Lake Whitney. That caused nothing but trouble yesterday so I went to the Southeast edge of the first circle and then headed NW towards the east edge of the second circle.  I had no real problems with only one semi-low point near Hillsboro and had black vultures marking most of the cores. I was generally able to find pretty good climbs.  As I got to the second circle the computer was showing me about 5 minutes under time but based on the last few days experience I figured I would be OK.  I saw John Barr in 215 in a thermal and we worked one together as I drifted a little more into the circle and got good and high before the run into the wind to the finish.

What happened on this leg made me feel like a real 1-26'er. After leaving the thermal with 215 I stumbled upon Glenn again in 508.  He marked a thermal ahead for me and we climbed together and then we both ran for the next one and worked it together.  I was really encouraged to see Glenn on the final leg home since he's had a few short flights, landing out at nearby airports on his way out on the first leg.  I left our second thermal with best wishes for the rest of his flight. Then lo and behold I see Tom Barkow ahead in 264 marking the next thermal. We climbed together and I stuck in the thermal a little longer than Tom who left above me.  By the next thermal I was now above him and he was once again marking it for me. Thanks Tom! We climbed up once again.  Our route was taking us out of the way of the direct course line for Maypearl but it was the only way to stay under clouds. After leaving Tom I couldn't believe it but there I see yet another 1-26 ahead marking a thermal for me again. This time it was Bill Vickland in 238. I got to the first thermal just as he was leaving and climbed up, only needing a few thousand more for a nice steep final glide.  He again marked the next one which gave him and eventually  me final glide. He finished a few minutes ahead of me.  It was really unbelievable to have a 30 mile run with a 1-26 marking each thermal along the way! Thanks guys!

I started final glide with only needing to make a 14:1 angle to get to the finish. I spent most of it running at least 70 mph and sometimes 80 or a bit faster just to get down. At one point I had been running 75-80 and hitting so much lift that I was doing 19:1 over the ground!!!  I got to the Maypearl circle and extended just a bit to burn off a little more altitude and get a little more distance, then turned for TSA. I finished at about 800 feet and continued to hit lift as I entered the pattern to land.  It was a great flight!

At that time just Bill and I had finished and we knew that Cathy had landed out in 97.  Kevin in 192 had once again gotten a really late start and I was worried about him considering the huge blue hole I had seen on course. I was keeping an eye out for 264, 508, and 215 since I had seen them working their way home.  215 landed a little after I did and pretty soon we heard from Tom in 264 too. He made it back but had to skip the Maypearl turnpoint so just got distance points.  Daniel was waiting for Ron to finish in 428 and just a few moments after Leah and I informed the retrieve desk that we would be happy to crew for Glenn in 508 if necessary we heard him call 4 miles! We all ran out to watch him come in and land and greeted him at the runway with congratulations on his first career contest finish.

Daniel with Glenn (508) after his finish

Eventually Ron, Bob Hurni (190), Pat Tuckey (4K), and Bill Snead (6W) finished, Bill being the last one in. We heard that Kevin had landed out and Tami headed out to get him.  After the last few days, only having 2 landouts was quite a success! Hopefully we can continue the trend for the rest of the contest. Here is todays flight:

YYY tied down and ready for another day of racing

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