Yesterday’s forecast predicted better soaring conditions for today, and it really looks as if this was accurate. This morning’s outlook agreed that we’d see strong lift to good altitudes under plentiful cumulus clouds – but it also mentioned the possibility of these clouds spreading out, cutting off solar heading, leading to weakening lift by mid- to late afternoon. Accordingly (and also in consideration of pilot fatigue), tasks were set shorter than yesterday’s, though all classes had well over 500 km (sufficient in normal circumstances – though not at WGC2022 – to raise eyebrows).
In the event, the spreadout didn’t happen, and all pilots danced around their tasks at remarkable speeds, ranging from 146 kph (91 mph) in 20-Meter class, to 159 kph (99 mph) in Open class. In the two single-place classes, a speed of 140 kph, which in normal circumstances would rate as “unthinkably fast”, would today have earned you 36th place (of 42) in 18-Meter class, and 21st (next to last) in Open. In 20-Meter class, every pilot exceeded 130 kph, which again lies in “well beyond what’s possible” territory.
Karl and Sarah had a good day in 20-Meter class, finishing tied for 4th place at 137 kph (85 mph). The merit of their flight is a bit disguised by a superhuman effort from the Czech team (146 kph, as mentioned above) which made second place worth less than 900 points (in this crowd, to win a day – especially a really good one – by that much is astonishing). They started at a favorable time, caught up with some earlier starters, and parlayed Karl’s cloud-reading skills into their second-best day of this contest. They now stand seventh, out of 18.
Just two competition days remain, and current forecasts say both will offer good racing conditions. No lead in any class is large enough to be safe, so there remains a lot left to play for.

A small correction to yesterday’s report: in counting up the total scored distance flown, I failed to include one 18-Meter finisher (who wasn’t yet scored when I was writing). This means that the correct total was 60,596 km.

I’m remiss in not having mentioned WGC2022 towplanes. We have a mixed fleet that (if I have it right) includes two Robins (French low-wing tricycle gear design), three Pawnees, a Cessna 182, two Zlín Z–37 Čmeláks (Czech radial-engined ag plane; Čmelák = “bumblebee”) and one turbine Čmelák (690-hp turboprop, with winglets). This last one is easily the most notable – it’s said to represent one pilot flying 2.5 normal towplanes. In an Arcus at max allowed weight (800 kg) Karl reports that climb rates routinely exceed 1000 fpm. Apparently this is not at full power – because the climb angle that would involve is beyond anything that normal glider pilots have ever seen or could be expected to deal with. And it has “beta” for its propeller, which allows alarmingly steep descents and short ground rolls after landing.
This fleet manages to get 82 gliders in the air in about and hour and 10 minutes (to be fair, assisted by some glider pilots that choose to self-launch). It’s one of many aspects of this contest whose smooth operation we’ve come to take for granted.

You can find the latest contest scores at: