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Day 5

Fernando’s forecast for the last day of the competition called for good soaring conditions to the southeast, with the possibility of a cirrus deck moving in from the northwest. As usual, his forecast came true. We set a 227 mile AT to the southeast, expecting that they would all be on final glide before the arrival of the overcast.

After the launch, it became apparent that the cirrus deck was moving faster than predicted, and the possibility of meeting the overcast head on, well before final glide, was on everyone’s mind. We finally fell back to a hatchet-shaped task of only 199 miles, and the task opened at 13:23.

Photo #15128 | May 15 Task B

The shortened task gave rise to a number of distinct strategies. Early starters would have a better chance of getting home at a moderate speed. Late starters would have a higher speed, but risked getting shut out at the end. They also would have more time to get into the wave that was evidenced by some unpredicted lenticular clouds.

In fact, the edge of the cirrus went by at about 16:40, and there were signs of convection underneath our new overcast.

The start times ranged from 13:26 to 13:52, and the finishers arrived in a big bunch at about 17:00. So the risk takers were rewarded.

There was a photo finish today, as Sergei Morozov, Dave Springford, and Gary Ittner all finished within 3 minutes of each other. Sergei was the winner, by one point.

The overall standings shuffled a bit at the top today, and the final results were: 1) Dave Springford, 2) Sean Murphy, and 3) Jerzy Szemplinski. Sean is the new US National Champion in the 15 Meter Class.

The 2019 15 Meter Class Nationals are over. We could have used some better weather a few days ago, but we ended up with five days of serious racing, a fair and safe contest, and zero damage to our precious aircraft.

After the awards and the final banquet in the Briefing hangar, the motorhomes and trailers are pulling out and heading to points west, north, and south. Many of the gliders will be dropped off at Cordele for the Region 5S contest that starts on June 3.

It is an understatement to say that this group of elite pilots felt welcome at Bermuda High. That feeling could easily be attributed to mere Southern hospitality, but it goes so much further than that. This is Frank and Jayne’s home, and they have opened up their home to an exceedingly fortunate group of pilots, crews, neighbors and volunteers as if we were all family.

I take it back. We are that family.

-Rick

Posted: 5/15/2019


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2019 15 Meter National

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