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Seniors Championship - TA Report

Well, today dawned foggy again, but at least I wasn’t accosted by the hawk family on my run.  I think I was early enough so they couldn’t see me go by in all the fog.

At the morning meeting, weatherman Ray Galloway told us that the synoptic weather  conditions were pretty much the same as yesterday, so we should expect pretty much the same soaring conditions.

The task today was SE to Wines, then SW to Wauchulla, then back NE to Chalet Suzanne, then north to Tex Merritt, and then home. 

Out on the grid for the  pre-launch meeting, John Good (facing south) told the group that he didn’t expect any clouds today, whereupon several pilots (facing north) raised their arms and pointed to a very nice looking cu that had just popped a few miles north! ;-).  Alas, it wasn’t to be, as what few cu’s there were in the task area faded away before the start gate opened.   There was also a huge field fire just about 5-10 miles south of the field, and for a while I thought that might work out as a first post-start fillup station.  Unfortunately someone got their times a bit off and it started too early, and was basically dead by the time the start gate opened – rats!

Most pilots headed directly south toward the Wines circle, and there were plenty of marked thermals on the first leg.  The bomber streams started to separate as pilots with different task strategies turned at different points along the leg.  A few brave pilots turned very early in the Wauchulla circle in an attempt to get to the clouds to the north of the field in the Tex Merritt circle.  Reports were that the clouds were there, and they worked, but not well enough to make up for having to fly alone in the blue to get there.  Many of the faster pilots went deep into the Wauchulla circle and just nicked the Chalet Suzanne and Tex Merritt circles.  Local boy Rich Owen showed us how it is done here at Seminole by winning the day with 59.93mph raw / 55.05mph handicapped.  John Seymour took second with 63.17mph raw / 54.19mph handicapped.  Chip Garner had another good day at third place with 58.92mph raw / 53.92mph handicapped.

It didn’t pay today to get low, as the thermals were hard to center below about 3000’msl.  Several pilots paid the price for getting too low today, as there were several landouts.  As I write this report, all pilots are accounted for and no human or glider injuries have been reported.

After 5 contest days, Tom Kelley is still in first place overall, 71 points ahead of Karl Striedieck.  That’s a pretty substantial lead, but not insurmountable.  Karl has a 62 point lead over John Seymour in third place overall, and John has only a 38 point lead over Dick Butler in fourth place and only 61 points over Frank Paynter in fifth overall.  So, I anticipate a real horse race tomorrow as the pilots already on the podium try to hold their places or advance, and the pilots near the podium try to muscle their way onto one of the spots.  Traditionally the last day’s task is a ‘banquet task’, designed to get everyone home in plenty of time to shower, shave, and get ready to party at the awards dinner, so the top guys might all wind up bunched together at the top of the scoresheet – we’ll just have to wait and see!



Posted: 3/18/2011


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