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Senior Soaring Championship - Mar 17 Report

Today was full of uncertainties.  We knew we had unstable air, but the forecast was not definitive about how much sunshine we would get, to say nothing of where that sunshine would occur.  We were sort of hoping for “thin cirrus” that would keep the heating low enough to prevent thunderstorms, but high enough to allow useable thermals to develop underneath.  We knew for sure that the high clouds would thicken to our north and head our way. 

The CD decided to send everyone south to a large Turn Area, and to bring them home via a small “steering turnpoint” to minimize conflicting traffic.  To increase our chances of getting away in case the gliderport was under an overcast at start time, he increased the radius of the Start circle from 5 to 8 miles.

We got lucky with the weather, and in fact, there were good thermals to 5500 feet under the milky cirrostratus, with no rain showers developing.

The Task opened at 1317 and most of the competitors left right away on what amounted to an out-and-return to an unspecified point in a large turn area.  The conventional wisdom is to follow the sandy Florida “ridge” marked by highway 27.  This route takes you to the eastern side of the large turn area.  The other strategy was to follow the wind line to the western side.  It was interesting to watch the fleet split into these two groups on the SSA tracker page.

With one exception, the western group did better.  Ken Sorenson (KM) won the day at 72 mph by following the energy, circling only five times, and making a perfectly timed 37-mile final glide.  Don Kroesch (DK) and Dennis Linnekin (DL) made similar flights, but were significantly slower than Ken.  The eastern group was led by Sam Zimmerman, who turned in a speed of 68 mph.  After handicapping, the top three were Sorenson, Zimmerman, and Billy Kerns (KZ).

With one day to go, the top three in the overall standings are Ken Sorenson, Karl Striedieck, and Ron Ridenour.

Tomorrow’s weather looks to be a lot like today’s.

Rick Sheppe

Posted: 3/17/2016


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