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Region 11 Soar Truckee FAI - Race Day 3 - north or south

The weather report is still “poor” with high winds and again low thermal tops. The CD considered a task to the south, to North Mono Lake turnpoint. But given expected heights of only 14,000 or less on the Pine Nut range, there was a high probability of another mass landout, this time at Carson City. The alternative was a zero turn MAT (Sergio promised “miserable” conditions), allowing contestants to stay in the Truckee valley if they chose. It was put to a vote in the pilot’s meeting, and the MAT task narrowly won.

In the air, once again wind torn thermals to about 12,500 prevailed, and once again wavelets could be found. L6 found a wavelet in front of Mt. Rose and announced a start “out the top” of the 14,000 ft start cylinder to annoy his fellow competitors. Most contestants flew a task similar to the first day, laps around the nearer turnpoints. A couple again ventured toward the west in wavelets, reaching Quincy and back. Attempting this, two got low in Sierraville and landed there. 

Bill Gawthrop (F8) had voted for the task south to Mono Lake, and it being a MAT, decided to vote with his stick. He found it slow going on the Pine Nuts and also struggled at Mt. Patterson, normally a reliable climb. When he arrived at North Mono he looked longingly at the nice clouds on the White Mountains but decided it was too late in the day to continue. His return was again low on the Pine Nuts, and a run at Spooner Pass to get into the Tahoe basin was hammered by the downwash from the Carson range and he has to retreat to Mt. Seigel. On the second attempt he snuck through the Spooner gap and found Sergio’s Elevator (a ridge soaring feature on the shore of Lake Tahoe sometimes used by homesick Truckee pilots). This gained enough for a finish and a raw speed of 66 mph, the fastest of the day. But one other pilot who had stayed closer to home managed slightly faster handicapped speed, John Cochran (BB) taking 1st at 63 mph raw (49 mph handicapped). John had been one of the ones to find wave and make it to Quincy, a path he had paved on the first day.

The weather for Friday finally looks a little better: less wind, even if the thermal tops are still low. 

Reported by Jon Fitch (L6)

Posted: 7/23/2016


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