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Sports Class Nationals - Day 3 at Chilhowee

Another challenging day today, made more so by a CD with a twisted sense of humor.  The weatherman (another guy with a twisted sense of humor) promised us a day with cu's, no blowups, and light winds.  What he forgot to tell us was that we wouldn't be able to actually climb under any of those cu's.

The task for the day was 3hr MAT with no mandatory turnpoints - what could be simpler? Well, when you read the fine print on the task sheet, you discovered that you cold not use any of the close-in turnpoints for your first turn (you could use them later in the day), AND you could only use 6 turnpoints total - OUCH!!  So, here's your mission should you choose to accept it -


  1. Start out on a beautiful looking day, discover that all the clouds are lying to you.
  2. Try to figure out how you are going to use up 3 hours with just 6 turnpoints total
  3. Somehow stay in the air for 3 hours, which turned out to be a challenge in itself
Although there were some very nice looking clouds around by launch time, cloudbase seemed to be completely out of reach for most of us.  Thermals (at least for me) were extremely hard to work, and you had to chase the darned things all over the sky once you got into them.  Instead of 'centering the thermal', it was more like 'surrounding the thermal'.  Gaggles consisted of several gliders all going in different directions and circles trying to work the same thermal.  It wasn't unusual for a glider 200' above or below you to be offset more than a circle diameter upwind or downwind - weird!


The day winner Robin Clark (RF) took a major risk by going into the high ground east of the Chilhowee ridge, and it paid off for him.  Apparently the clouds back there (which did look very nice) were much better behaved than the ones we were dealing with.  Personally I was delighted with my 6th place finish for the day, and I freely admit I don't have the intestinal fortitude to go back there where one missed thermal can turn a really good day into a really bad nightmare. 

At the end of the day today, I got to take a nice shower in the clubhouse, so the Chilhowee phone/internet/water crisis is officially over.

Popular weather for tomorrow is for sunny and hot (almost 90 degrees in May - hate to be around here in August!), with calm winds.  Hopefully we can get another day or two in and make the contest official (we have 3 in the bag now, so we have an 'official-but-downgraded' contest now. One more contest day will remove the 'but-degraded' attribute).


Posted: 5/8/2011


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