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2020 Senior Soaring Championship - Climb and Glide, Climb and Glide, Climb and Glide.....

Day 4

As the sun came up over the evergreens, everyone seemed to up early today.  The dogs were walking their masters and the runners were out in force.  Bo, our contest photographer, was making plans to take the official contest picture.  The Seniors Rules Committee, headed by Ron Clarke, had a meeting to discus possible changes to the contest format.  As 10:15 am approached, we did not know how many of the pilots and crews would attend the photo op.  We had made attendance optional, but to our surprise, many of the folks came out.  Of course, we had a good amount of space between each individual, so mush so that Bo needed a wide-angle lens for her camera.  Everyone came with their Hawaiian shirts which is a tradition at the Seniors.  You can tell who the rookies are, they’re the ones not wearing a colorful shirt. 

The grid was shifted to the north end of the runway which usually causes problems.  It is a little tighter, three gliders in each row, you need a wing stand, the tow planes land in the overrun and taxi between the sailplanes on the grid.  This year we were lucky since Dewey ran Operations and Catherine was there with extra flags.  We had a good number of visitors from town today so I guess we were the only show in town.  The launch finished in an hour and soon the start gate was open.  Today John sent us on a tour of the central spine of Florida.  The 3 hour Turn Area Task took us from Start A, Green Swamp, Streamsong, CFI Plant, Osborn, Inverness, Leesburg, and Finish.  With those last two turnpoints we must have made the CD mad last night.  They are some of the wettest and least hospitable places in the task area.  The only worse place is Umatilla, where many venture and few return!  The weather had cloud bases starting at 3,000 feet at launch to right at 4,400 feet when the gate opened.  Lift varied between 3 knots to right at 6.5 knots in the task area.  Most of the pilots were looking for the nice streets that were around the task area yesterday, but few were found. Rich Owen finished in first place with a 64.19 mph raw speed over a course of 194 miles.  Phil Gaisford finished in second by a narrow margin, flying 196 miles at 64.07.  Fernando Silva finished in third.  Rich had a pretty good following today in the start circle and was asked if all his darting around the start was trying to shake some of these ships free. Simple answer, no, he was just trying to find a climb when the day cycled right at the start.   

The score sheet is still very close.  Tomorrow, it could be anybody’s race.  We are all looking forward to the banquet with Mexican food from Groveland’s Coyote Rojo.  Mihaela is making margaritas and it is sure to be a great time.  For those of you who have never been to a Seniors, you should put it on your bucket list.  Just talk to anyone who has attended. Just look at Don Wasness who has been at all 30 Senior Soaring Championships and even won the first one.  Talk to you all tomorrow. 

Posted: 3/19/2020


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