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18-Meter National Championships - What a Race

It was a beautiful morning around the gliderport when I made the trek to the office to post the active runway for the day.  Just before the pilots meeting I went back to the office to check on the delivery of our trophies and I took a peak at John Godfrey’s string board.  Everyone knows that Charlie Spratt used a board that had a map of the task area.  On each of the turnpoints there was a screw, and a string were attached to the home airport.  The CD loops the string around all the screws to determine the mileage of the task and to ensure it is safe.  Well the one in our office looked like he used an entire ball of yarn.  When the assigned task came out, it was planned to cover 359 miles.  That is very good task for this time of year but everyone was pretty tired! 

The grid time came and the sniffers were launched.  Just like yesterday, the day started a little slower.  It was evident the big task was not going to be possible so John dropped it back to his task B plan which was another assigned task of 291 miles.  It wasn’t too long until everyone was on course.  The first leg up to Williston was a little slow going.  Climbs were in the 4 knot range and the cloud bases were only 5,000 feet.  For the first hour it did not look like we were going to have 80 mph speeds like yesterday.  Soon the lift started getting better but great climbs were sometimes hard to come by.  Once we got on the last half of the flight, that’s when the fun really began.  Cruising at 6,000 feet under nice cu without losing much altitude is a wonderful feeling.   Soon the miles speed by and the last leg was upon us.  We were going to Burntwood which is in a low-lying area to the southwest of Seminole-Lake.  With all the rain we had, it was very weak and several pilots got into a little trouble on final glide.

Now the scoresheet.  Missing from the podium for a couple of days, Sergei Morozov made a great comeback by posting a flight of nearly 76 mph, just .62 mph faster than second place finisher, Gary Ittner.  Dave Springford continued his consistent flying by finishing third only .16mph slower than Gary. These were close finishes!  Take a look at the score sheet and you will see another close bunch of Americans all wanting that nice trophy of an eagle sitting on the CD’s table.   The top 4 are all within 100 points of Gary.  I have a feeling he is not worried about the next 2 days of flying.  He has been in this position many times before and has closed the deal.  However, these pilots are not conceding the contest to him just yet.  That will occur at the banquet when the final scores are released.  The weather tomorrow is looking like a repeat of today so we expect another nice task from our CD, John Godfrey.   I will try and get a report out tomorrow morning to introduce you to our cast of volunteers that has made this event possible.  If you would like to see different information in these posts, drop me a line at stillflyn@aol.com.  Until tomorrow......



Posted: 5/8/2018


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