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15 Meter Nationals - Aug 3 Report

2010 15-Meter National Soaring Championships – Uvalde, TX

Report for 3 August


“Now that’s more like it!”


This was the general sentiment as launch time approached today.  Our forecast was mixed, with some models predicting the severely blue conditions of the recent past, while others held out hope for some cumulus clouds.  Something better than the optimistic version seems to have prevailed – indeed the afternoon sky exceeded everyone’s expectations, with extensive cumulus clouds and no troubles in view.  In short, we had a true Uvalde day.


It’s just as well: The conditions of the past few days would probably have gladdened the hearts of pilots at such sites as Hobbs NM, Caesar Creek OH, and even Szeged Hungary.  But Uvalde holds itself to high standards which don’t embrace day after day of hot, blue, uncomfortable soaring, nor winning speeds that struggle to reach 100 kph.


Today was different. You needed to push hard (“both feet on the stick”) to place well – 80 mph would not have earned a spot in the top ten.  The pilot who did it best was Karl Striedieck, veteran of many Uvalde contests (and winner of not a few), who did 86 mph over 296 miles.  A large pack of top pilots nipped at his heels – indeed, you have to go down to 20th place to find a gap as large as 20 points.


It’s a rather “intimate” Uvalde contest this year, another way of saying that we have one of the smallest entry lists ever for a National contest here – just 30 pilots.  In many ways this makes for a friendlier and safer contest (much less crowding in pre-start thermals, or during landing) but it seems rather a shame that 26 years after the first contest here only about half as many pilots are now turning out to enjoy what are known to be some of the best racing conditions on the planet.  



Posted: 8/3/2010


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