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Open and Standard Class Nationals - Day 1 Midnight Report

June 16, 2009, was the second day for the Region 11 Sport contest and the first contest day for the Standard Class and Open Class nationals.  The weather dawned clear and cool, and the “morning star” Venus and a fairly new moon dominated just before sunrise.  The sky was clear, indicating a relief from the nighttime rains of the past few days. 


However, the task-team weather briefing was greeted with predictions of cirrus clouds moving in from the northwest.   Optimism prevailed and the task-setters selected a repeat of yesterday’s tasks, a four-point TAT including China, Medicine Lake, Radar, and Mt Hebron for Standard, with Callahan replacing China for Open Class.  Time 3 hours.  Sport Regional was assigned China, Medicine Lake, and Weed, 2 hours. 


By the end of the pilots meeting at 10:45, cirrus was fully developed overhead, and the soaring weather for the day looked dismal at best.  The CD got busy working on less-ambitious tasks, creating a MAT of Callahan and R-Ranch for Standard and Open with a 2-hour minimum time.  The MAT for Sport Class would assign only Callahan. 


Creating shorten tasks for the first day of the Nationals was a disappointment, especially with a built-in devaluation, but it was felt that it was better to get a completed day on the books, if possible, rather than nothing, or have a crap shoot.  We didn’t know what was going to develop for the contests later. 


The CD sent up the first two Open Class gliders, Dave Nadler and Garrett Willat, to test the air at 12:48.  They stayed up but not very high.  At 13:16, the rest of the Open Class was launched, and the last Sport Class glider was launched at 14:18.  There were no re-lights, a tribute to the skill of the pilots involved. 


The cirrus started to thin (to everyone’s relief) as the afternoon wore on, and a few cue developed over the ridges.  Speeds were not fast, but the completion rate was high with no Standard or Open Class landouts, although there were several reports of low saves. 


Open Class speeds ranged from 62.4 to 52.3, Standard class from 64.4 to 42.7.  Ron Tabery, Steven Leonard, and Garret Willat got 1st through 3rd places in Open Class.  Gary Ittner, David Greenhill, and Peter Deane placed 1st through 3rd in Standard Class.


Sport Class had no retrieves, although one pilot returned after using his motor and another took a constructive landout and returned home without completing the first leg.  JJ (John) Sinclair won the day with a handicapped speed of 52.84 mph (55.92 actual), and Martin Grant got second with a handicapped speed of 50.30 mph (59.00 actual).


A longer list of people not wishing ambient temperatures in the 90s and 100s exists, and some of us would like to count ourselves amongst them as some are the hard working contest crews.  And so far the weather conditions without higher temperatures are providing a test for soaring.  Perhaps the best of worlds for all here in the beautiful Mt. Shasta valley. 


Posted: 6/17/2009


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