|Practice Day Report --- Errol Drew|
In spite of a somewhat pessimistic weather report, the fleet was gridded and all launched by around 12.30, a considerable accomplishment itself! Experience aloft soon showed the day to be looking quite a lot more promising so when the gate opened at 13.09, there was no hesitation for contestants to begin calling their start times and heading enthusiastically towards the first turn point, Morrisville with a 15 mile radius. The task called for a minimum flight time of two hours which allowed those confident enough to extend their distances. Thermals averaged between 3.5 kts and 4.5 kts with the occasional 6 knots bonus up to a cloud base of around 6,000 ft msl with some streets towards the wind direction of North West. Those who did venture beyond the Morrisville turnpoint had time at lower altitudes to reflect on the wisdom of that decision. Lift was generally always to be found even if the thermal strength somewhat less than desirable. The second turnpoint, Stockbridge, had a radius of 10 miles which allowed for pilots keep to the high ground if desired. Some contestants discovered that the ridge lift along the course was less sustainable than anticipated. The most notable flight was by the winner of the day, Greg Leslies who somehow managed a speed of 68mph, almost 10mph faster than the rest of the pack. With only one land out, everyone agreed they had an excellent day's Vermont soaring.
Sunday: Scrubbed. Although there were possible weather openings, it was decided that the fast moving weather system might not allow a proper task. Many pilots did take a launch and were rewarded with some excellent soaring conditions for a while before high cloud and rain descended.