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15 Meter Nationals - Aug 12 Report

2010 15-Meter National Soaring Championships – Uvalde, TX

Report for 12 August


The mostly trouble-free weather Uvalde has served up this year came to an end today.  Despite an excellent early morning forecast (that produced an overly optimistic initial task call), an area of cloud and even rain was seen headed our way from the Gulf coast.  This let to a revised task sheet that had pilots headed west and north of home, in hopes they could stay clear of impending trouble.

This proved to be the right call.  Despite some occasionally extensive mid-level cloud that cut off the sun for worrisome periods, the areas where pilots had to fly stayed reasonably good, and the really grim weather stayed well southeast of Uvalde.  Notably, some of the best altitudes of the contest were reported northwest of home.  Just one pilot landed out (about which more later).

Best for the day was John Seaborn (A8) who did 79.6 mph over 268 miles.  John thus finished third for the contest and by doing so has secured a US Soaring Team slot for the World Gliding Contest scheduled for Uvalde in 2012. 

The close race I described yesterday concluded today in the closest finish at a US National soaring contest in a very long time.  Bill Ruehle did 77.76 mph to take 4th place; Mark Keene was less that a mile an hour slower, but that resulted in ten fewer points, which put Bill in first place for the contest by just 2 points.  Over 8 contest days and an impressive number of on-task hours (32) and miles (2591), that’s about the difference a single extra circle would make.

Our sole landout today was John Murray (LX) who managed to find a friendly field in the Hill Country northwest of home (where landable agricultural fields tend to be rather thin on the ground).  As a good pilot should do, he promptly called the contest Retrieve Office.  Unfortunately, the cellphone connection wasn’t the best, and “John Murray” got interpreted as “Sean Murphy”.  Thus it was that the XC trailer - home to a Ventus 2 - was despatched to retrieve an ASG-29.  John’s reaction to seeing the wrong trailer appear was a bit less that fully enthusiastic, as indeed was Sean’s when he landed after finishing to find his trailer nowhere in sight.

But the mistake was soon sorted out and the correct trailer was not so very far behind the wrong one.  So in return for a retrieve that took an hour too long (and an equally delayed disassembly) John and Sean have a story that will last a good while.

Thus ends a small but mostly successful Uvalde contest, unfortunately marred by the accident a week ago.  Folks here are already looking forward to WGC 2012.

I’d like to give particular thanks to Kerry Huffstutler (Contest Manager par excellence) and to Cynthia King who did a highly commendable job as Scorer, despite no previous experience in this demanding job.


- John Good


Posted: 8/12/2010


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