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18-Meter National Championships - God Bless America

What a great soaring day in Florida!  The CD moved the pilots meeting up and got the launch going early to accommodate a 4 hour long MAT.  It challenged every pilot in the contest to do their very best.  Richard Kellerman delivered the forecast with great style and promised we may have cu today.  Everyone doubted his forecast but right on cue, while we were gridding, the first cu appeared.  The day would be a mix of blue, haze domes/wispy cu, and big clouds with flat bottoms.  Cloud bases were in the 4,500 to 6,00 foot range and lift varied greatly.  Some climbs were a meger 2-3 knots and others were similar to out west conditions with 7 knots not unheard of.  It appeared we had two gaggles that contained most of the competitors.  There were a lot of thermals that reminded me of my younger days as a kid in the kitchen.  Remember the old mixers that your Mom told you not to turn on with just liquid in the bowl.  Everything went everywhere.  Thats what some of the gaggle thermals looked like.  Shifting gears at the right time and moderating your risk was key.  I'm happy to report, a great friend, fellow Floridian and US Team member, Robin Clark won the day!  He completed all turnpoints for a total of 297 miles at 71 mph.  Bill Gawthrop and Sergei Morozov rounded out the top three places.  These pilots were the only ones that completed all the turnpoints in the time alloted.  Overall the Canadians still control the podium with Sergei in first, Dave Springford in second and Jerzy Szemplinski in third.  The top five Americans are Robin Clark, Sean Fidler, Gary Ittner, Ken Sorenson, and Eric Nelson.  The gaps are closing and todays result has enbolden the Americans.  We are looking for some more fireworks from Team USA tomorrow!  Weather for tomorrow looks good.  Tonight we had a great prime rib dinner provided by the Red Wing restaurant accompanied by a fresh batch of beer from the Papa 7 Brewery courtesy of Gary Ittner.  It's been a fun filled day with great racing, good food, and now our ground crew is watching "Justice League" in our movie theatre thanks to Sean Fidler.  Stay tuned for some more racing.  I would like to get your comments about our trackers.  Please let me know at stillflyn@aol.com.   

Rich Owen

Posted: 5/3/2018


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