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Region 5 North - Day 2 at Perry (Tuesday 19 April)

I'm sitting in my micro-camper at about 3pm, after the day was called here at Perry.  A storm system was moving in from the southwest, with major blow-ups visible on radar and visible satellite loops.  At the morning meeting it was decided to move the grid time up slightly to see if a task could be completed before the stratus came in and shut everything down.  Unfortunately, the stratus got here before there was sufficient heating to get us off the ground, so the day was cancelled
Yesterday (Day 2) was a challenging day for all classes  Winds out of the south at 15-20kt, mostly blue.  The Standard and 15m guys had a 4-area 2:30hr TAT; first east to Orangeburg, then south to Barnwell, then north again to Fogles, then west to Ernies, then home.  18m was a 2:30hr TAT; first southeast to Dry Swamp, then south to Allendale, then west to Aiken, then home.  Sports was a 2:00hr TAT; first southeast to Bamburg, then west to Aiken, then east to Fogles, then home.
We were all off the ground by about 2pm, and then the start-gate roulette commenced.  For those with sufficient patience, a few raggedy clouds popped up on the extreme upwind edge of the std/15 start circle, allowing climbs to a little over 5000'msl.  In the 15m class, BB (John Cochrane) led a group of us out at around  2:45, and we had a very fast first leg into the Orangeburg circle, not stopping for 20 miles or so, and then pulling into a 4-5kt climb.  BB and the eventual day winner ZJ (Jerry Zeiba) then extended farther east for a few miles, hoping to come back to the same thermal (didn't work).  I went all the way to the back of the Orangeburg cylinder chasing some good looking cu's, and caught them just inside the circle.  Unfortunately, they didn't work at all, and then I was alone in the blue (again).  Fortunately I met up with XM (Mike Smith), and I was at least smart enough to stay with him for the rest of the task.  This was the first time I have been able to really team fly with someone, and it worked pretty well; coming back north after the 2nd circle, heading for the 3rd, we were about 100yds apart and at the same altitude.  He would go up a bit, and then I would. One or the other of us would pull up in lift and start circling, and the other would immediately pull in and start turning as well - cool! About halfway between Barnwell (2nd circle) and Fogles, Mike started slowing down and then he dumped the rest of his water.  I wasn't really sure what was happening, but I did the same.  Turned out Mike was about 15 minutes faster than me to recognize deteriorating conditions ahead - some of that National Champ mojo.

Most pilots got in trouble at least once, some more so than others.  BB reported that he was down to about 500'agl at one point, and counted himself very lucky to have gotten away at all.
The 18m guys had a slightly better time of it, probably because their task took them a bit more south where the conditions were better.  The  day winner was W3 (Tim Welles), who reported that when he really needed a thermal, he spotted two other gliders circling ahead.  When he pulled in, who did he see but 8H (Al Tyler, previous 15m US team member) and DJ (Doug Jacobs, previous world champ), After W3 joined, the 3-glider gaggle consisted entirely of previous US team members - talk about an exclusive club!
Sports class was won by Sarah Kelly-Arnold (again), who says she's still looking for that 1000-point win.  Heck, I would be perfectly please with a 900-point win!
Tonight we are being treated to another wonderful dinner.  Wagener isn't exactly a culinary hotspot, so on-field dinners are more of a necessity than a luxury, along with the on-site camping.

Posted: 4/19/2011


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