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18 Meter National - May 14 Report

For the first time since the practice period, we awoke to a clear blue sky today. Weatherman Ward Hindman promised an 11am trigger with eventual 3.5 knot thermals to 6000 feet and few Cu.

Eric called a three turnpoint Assigned Task of 187 miles.  As soon as the Task opened, Eric and his buddy Ed jumped into the ASG-32Mi and took off for a 2 hour excursion around the Task area. They landed in time to welcome the first finishers.

Today the fastest pilots made small deviations. Dave Nadler reported that on two occasions he found good lift in the middle of blue holes. The fastest pilots were also choosy about their thermals: 5 knots to 6000 feet seemed to be the best.

First across the line at 1635 was Dennis Linnekin, followed shortly thereafter by Al Tyler. Dennis rolled up to the clubhouse, and from the scoring office window, you could see that he was pleased with his flight. We joked that the first finisher is always in first place for a while, and his crew Nanette requested a souvenir printout of the scoresheet to honor the occasion.  She needn’t have bothered.  Dennis won the day by a lot.

Dave Nadler was a solid second, and Sean Fidler was third.  Yesterday’s winner, Bill Gawthrop, was in the top five until he lost everything on final glide and wasn’t able to claim a valid finish.  (He was the fourth “completed course/non-finisher” of the contest, so far.  There has been a lot of discussion of Rule recently. Opinions vary.

In the overall standings, Robin Clark is in second place, surrounded by two members of the Canadian Team, Jerzy Szemplinski and Dave Springford. We have five days to go.

Another catered dinner in the briefing hangar, with soaring’s troubador Ed Kilbourne providing the entertainment.  Like Ed himself, his touching paeans to our wonderful sport are timeless.

-Rick Sheppe

Posted: 5/14/2016


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