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18 Meter Nationals - S2 Report

What a day! We thought nothing could go wrong today, and we were almost right.

Met man Ward Hindman, whose weather reports start out each day with a pithy synopsis led with this headline: "Excellent soaring." And so it was. Trigger time was forecast at 1100, just as the Pilot's Meeting would be ending. And sure enough, as we left the meeting, the first Cu of the day were visible on the horizon.

CD Eric and his crafty advisors set a "long MAT" with a 3.5-hour minimum time and six assigned turnpoints. The Task was designed to tempt people to come home from a nearby turnpoint, Pageland, but included two more after that. The first leg was into the wind, and the second was a long downwind dash.

The Task opened at 1341, and most pilots elected to leave right away. We watched them on the big screen Live Tracking display until most of them were speeding down the second leg. Eric, convinced that "nothing can go wrong now," took the rest of the day off and went flying in 7T.

Finishers started showing up shortly after 1700, and the early reports were that the last two turnpoints, Cheraw and Hartsville (site of the famous nuclear power plant) were unattainable due to a change in airmass to the east.

Then the retrieve office phone began to ring! How can that happen on a day when nothing could go wrong?

Well, it turned out that the only thing that went wrong today was that a small number of pilots forgot that you don't have to go to every turnpoint on a MAT.

Congratulations to today's winner, Sean Fidler.


P.S. The winner at Mifflin went 90 mph today. Go read that report, too.

Posted: 5/12/2013


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