Today was a day much like many here, with a difficult forecast, small tasks, a late launch, and plenty of outlandings and low finishers.  It was notable for Tim Taylor, who again took second place in 15-Meter class (just behind the day winner and 15-Meter champion, Sabastian Kawa).  Sean Murphy was 8th for the day, landing just 1 km short of the finish ring.

The day didn’t change any of the first-place positions, but it did shake things up.  The most conspicuous case was in 15-Meter class, where Ricky Brigliadori, who’d been at or near the top for days, managed to outland before the start, thus scoring zero points and dropping from second to fifth.  I think his fellow pilots had nothing but sympathy – nearly all of them would at times have been low enough pre-start to feel this was a fate that could have overtaken anyone.

On the final scoresheet Poland took first and second in 15-Meter class, with Team Germany dominating the other two (first and third in both).  Uwe Wahlig scored a convincing win in Club class (and in the “best hair” category), taking the lead on Day 6 and never losing it.  Simon Schröder took the trophy in Standard class.  With 4 of the 9 podium positions, Germany was the winner of the Team Cup.

This WGC must surely have set records in many weak-weather categories, probably including ‘Percentage of outlandings’ and ‘Total points lost to low-finish penalties’.  Many of those penalties were large enough to take away most or all of pilots’ speed points, thus effectively converting them from finishers to long landouts.  My calculations indicate that 42% of flights ended with outlandings; adding in those with stiff finish penalties would bring this near to 50%.

Another record set here would be in the category ‘Lowest average en-Route altitude AGL’.  On most days, a climb to 2500’ above ground was reason for self-congratulation.  To reach 1000m (3281’) above ground was rare – probably less than 5% of all flying was done above that height.  A climb to a good start altitude near the start line might happen once in 30+ minutes, so many pilots were faced with the choice of a low start or a poorly chosen start time.

Inevitably, finishers’ speeds reflected these struggles:  On no day did any pilot in any class manage 100 kph (I expect someone willing to bet that way could at the start of the contest easily have found 200:1 odds).  For one of many examples, look at the speeds in the 15-Meter class on the final day: 54.3 kph for the winner, down to 50.7 for 7th place.  Places 5, 6 and 7 were additional examples of pilots who lost all their speed points to low-finish penalties.

But, given the desperately weak weather, it’s notably how much flying the best pilots in the world were able to do.  The Club class managed 9 valid (albeit mostly well-devalued) tasks; Standard and 15-Meter each had 8.  Only a few of these had weather that normal pilots would rate better than “marginally flyable”.

So I think WGC2021 must be be rated as a qualified success.  Very hard work for pilots and crews, not much fun in the air, but unquestionably a valid test of pilot skill.