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18 Meter Nationals - 56 Report

56 Report

I have been privileged to fly the sailplane owned by our weather man and
good friend, Jay Campbell. This morning as I began preparations for the day
Jay stopped by and mentioned lift to 8000’ MSL. The fantastic weather which
made it possible for my friend Linwood Stevenson to fly 1263 km three
turnpoint distance out of Knoxville on Mother’s Day had arrived in South
Carolina, and what a day it was.

A little game I play with myself on task is to set a McCready slightly less
than what is possible for the day and try my hardest to beat the computer’s
estimated time to finish. Yesterday I did just that, and with great climbs
on the first leg I’d managed to shave off 30 minutes. The second leg was a
little trickier. I kept going for the clouds a bit upwind of course which
was unfortunately just downwind of the Pee Dee River. In order to not get
low I had to take a substandard climb or two. In any case it appears that
the winning decision of the day was to forge straight ahead as those who
did found better climbs. After the turn to the north with a long mostly
downwind flight home the remainder of the flight felt like an extended
final glide: the “return from Davidson County” as opposed to the legendary
“return from Laredo” of Uvalde fame. I thought to myself that I had better
make the last few thousand feet of climbing count, and although I didn’t
find the climbs we enjoyed along the first leg it was no time at all until
I was steaming for the finish at a satisfying speed.

It was a fantastic day of soaring in the Carolinas. We flew over some
country I’d never seen before. With high cloud bases and a fast course it
was one of those days when I realize just how wonderful it is to be one of
the fortunate few who love and understand a sport like this.

Sarah Arnold

Posted: 5/13/2013


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