Saturday, July 13, 2013

Medal and podium

As what will probably be my last post, I thought I would send a nice "good morning" gift to all our friends stateside who have followed this blog and have supported Sarah in her quest: There is always only one world champion, so when ties occur at first place, there is a formula to brake the tie and determine who is the champion and who is second place. Apparently, things are different when the tie occurs lower in the rankings. In this particular case there were two second place pilots, and after several meetings and discussions among officials and powers to be, a decision was reached that both were to receive a silver medal, and that Sarah would be awarded the bronze medal and third place in a 1, 2, 2, 3 on the podium. So, we had the pleasure to see Sarah step on the podium, the pride to see our flag fly at the ceremony for the Club Class, and the joy to witness Sarah getting her bronze medal. We are all very proud to bring one of those special FAI World Championship medals home for all of you who have been so supportive of Sarah. Enjoy the photos.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Landed out about 30 Km out

Landed out in a good field about 30 Km (~20 sm) away. Glider and Sarah all OK. We are on our way to retrieve her. Many landouts in the last few minutes (almost 7:00 PM). More when we come back.

About two third of the way at 17:45

Sarah is about two third of the way. Probably with all the late starters.
There are two landouts reported already. On the other hand, we just heard two standard class gliders calling 10 Km out.
The early starters in Club Class, who left about one hour before the gate closure, should be getting close.
The wind is howling, around 15-20 kt at the ground, similar to yesterday.

Mid-afternoon Day 10

Of course, all the leaders played start gate roulette, waiting to be the last to leave and have the markers ahead. In this case, it meant that they all watched each other and waited until the very last minute before the 15:30 closing of the gate. Remember that at WGC, the IGC scoring is used, and on a day like today, each minute may be worth about 10 points. Sarah is 8 points behind third place, 16 behind second place and 47 points behind first.

Since I did not include any photo recently, I thought I would show you our "little sacred place," a set of trees that we found to setup the hammock and that we reserved for pilot relaxation time between pilot's meeting and grid time. After coming back from the grid, it is literally taken over by the crew to do "important" stuff like checking e-mail, facebook, calling boyfriend or girlfriends, etc., as you can see on the photo, while the Team Captain has to monitor for the pilot's start, turn in the pilot start time to the office within 30 minutes, then check on competitors start time, and monitor the radio to relay any pertinent information or answer the pilot's inquiry, etc. So, typically no chance for a little R&R in the sacred place. BUT TODAY, the crew has gone to the end of the airport access road to try and get a glimpse of the Tour de France... Guess who gets the hammock today... :-)
I better go settle in that hammock before they come back. Talk to you later after the arrivals... :-)

Day 10 is on

They are in the air. All start gates are open. The Club Class is on a 197 Km speed task in the Southern sector. The wind is about same as yesterday, but the top of the lift in blue thermals is just a bit higher than yesterday, nearing 4500 ft.
The height of the finish ring has been raised by 100 ft for the Club Class today. I am not sure that this will change much, since it still is 400 ft AGL at 4 Km, which is probably too low to make it back to the airport in a 20 kt wind. The major twist for today is that the start gates for all classes are closed at 15:30, meaning that if they cross the line after that time, their start time will be taken as 15:30. This is the solution chosen by the organizers to get them away from the airport before the arrival of the Tour de France and associated low-flying helicopters in our close vicinity.
It is a blue day, and the last day of the contest, so we can expect gaggles again, and probably some intense games of start gate roulette.

Notes on yesterday

Just a few notes to explain the anxiety that you probably noted in my last post yesterday and that pervaded over the field during the arrivals and "finish" yesterday: It is not evident from the daily score sheet, but only six of the Club Class gliders actually made it back to the field. Their last leg was straight upwind with a wind at altitude between 17 and 20 kt. When the first arrival calls began, a few 15m crossed the finish ring, 4 Km out, and reached the field, followed shortly by the two British LS4 that have the longest reach of the Club Class gliders. All eyes then turned toward the Southwest from where the finishers would come. The last 3-4 Km before the runway threshold are fields, about 30% of which are now harvested, and before that about 10 Km of forest along the arrival course line. It was a blue day, so the entire fleet was flying in gaggles, 5 or 6 "packets" as they call them here. We heard a lot of "10 Km out" calls and saw waves after waves of gliders reaching over the edge of the forest and landing in the fields between it and the runway, some low enough over the edge of the forest that they must have been very relieved to see something else than trees under their wings and be able to land in a field. You can imagine that the sight generated some anxiety among the waiting crew.
Sarah, the two German Libelles, and Magali were in the last packet/gaggle; and obviously we were able to alert them. They elected to climb a little higher in a weak thermal, which drifted them back in the 20 kt wind, so required more altitude, etc., to insure a safer arrival to the field, and that of course cost them many precious minutes. Although they were a bit disappointed about what it did to their scores for the day, there is no question that it certainly was the right decision, as several others got unlucky in their landings. Among them our good friend and neighbor in the glider parking lot, the Australian Kerrie Claffey, who had a rough touch down in a field and had to be checked for a sore back at the hospital. She is around the campground and all fine this morning, although still a bit sore. The other is the russian pilot, Nina Shalneva, who had to be lowered down from her glider that luckily got caught in branches high in trees rather than percolating down through branches and impacting the ground. We heard this morning that Nina is also fine.
By the time of my post last night when we left the field, we had not yet heard about all the pilots and what resulted from the mass landings. The scores were not out yet either because it was unknown which pilots had crossed the finish ring high enough to get speed points, and which did not. I guess you all found out an hour or so later just like we did.
In retrospect, the day was clearly difficult but perfectly flyable. The wind was strong but the top of lift was about 4000 ft, and they all basically went around the whole task. The final glide in the strong wind was the key to the day's task. There was still plenty of lift to make it back to the airport, as several who elected to take a bit more margin demonstrated. Others either fell to a bit of sink in the headwind or just went for the finish ring altitude with insufficient margin to reach beyond that all the way to the runway. Those really are pilot's decisions.
We had a Team Captains meeting this morning, and all opinions basically were along the above statement. The weather today is expected to be similar as yesterday and a task will be called. The main goal of the meeting was to agree on a reasonable set of thresholds of time, altitude, wind, and lift strength that would support gate opening. The main issue is safety of course, including the need to have them well gone on task by the 3:30 - 4:00 PM time at which the cyclists of the Tour de France, and the associated low-flying helicopters, etc., will be in near proximity of the airport.
I'll try to post an update before going to the line if possible, otherwise talk to you mid-afternoon. Everything can still happen at this point. Stay tuned.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

She is home

No preliminary scores yet, but just a note to let you stop biting your nails. She made it home, and in good standing we think. Scores likely very tight at the top again, and we think the gap behind them has now increased further. This looks like yet another day to "separate the girls from the women," as the local contest staff say.
I'll let you check the scores yourself a little later, as it was a long day and we have to rush and find somewhere to eat (it's already a zoo on the road to town, with many caravans already in place for the Tour de France tomorrow) and then get home early.

On their way to what looks like a difficult Day 9

I posted an update this morning because I was expecting that we would sit on the grid for quite a while before I could post again. Indeed, we did. The original launch time of 1:00 PM got postponed, 15 minutes by 15 minutes, all the way to 3:00 PM. During this process, the task was first changed to task B, a TAT of 2:45 hr, then the task time was reduced to 2:15 hr and the radius of the second area was increased to 30 Km. Finally, the sniffer found enough reliable lift to give it a go.
Gate opening for the Club Class was 15:28. A few Cu had appeared early on in the Southern sector, but it is now totally blue. Max altitude seems to be just below 1100 m (3300 ft). The wind at the ground is about 10-15 kt, gusting 20 kt.
All of them left within a 12-minute window between 15:50 and 16:02, probably because of the expected gaggling that takes place on such a blue day but also because the 2:15 hr task will stretch the task past 6:00 PM, which is quite late given the expected convection of the day.
The challenge will be the return into the wind late in the day. One good news, if good really is the word here, is that the harvesting has been in full swing during the last couple of days, and about 30% of the fields now appear landable.

Back into full swing

We are back into full swing today, in great spirits after the great day yesterday. The weather, however, is far from what the predictions yesterday indicated for today. Likely a blue day, with winds of 15-20 kt, and max altitudes rising slowly to 1200-1300 m (3500-3800 ft) under a strong inversion. There are very slim chances of 1/8 Cu to the South, so their tasks have been set as flat triangles in that sector. For Club Class, task A is an AST of 233 Km, quite long in my opinion under these conditions, and task B is a 2:45 hr TAT. We will await for the convective evolution to hear the final call, likely on the grid.

The point spread at the top of the score sheet is very small, and the 100-point spread from the top is now down to 5th place, with rapidly increasing gaps behind that, but this is the kind of day where everything can happen. First launch is currently delayed to 1:00 PM due to the slow-developing convection. More news later on after the take-offs.

Another twist discussed at the pilots briefing this morning is the passage of the Tour de France tomorrow, bringing the cyclists, and associated helicopters, caravans, etc., within 500 m of the airport. This will result in the major road from Issoudun to the airport being closed between 10:00 AM and 6:00 PM, and may possibly affect the task possibilities due to the presence of low-flying helicopters. More on that later when the organizers will have discussed more with the Tour organization.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Looks like another Day win for Team USA !!!

I am just back from putting the glider in the box and checking the preliminary scores: Looks like another Day win for Team USA... !!!
Points at the top of the cumulative scores are VERY tight... The last two days of this contest are going to be very interesting and exciting.
We are rushing to dinner for an early to bed evening. Tomorrow is forecasted as a good day, so I expect a long task.
Enjoy the win. Talk to you tomorrow.


One land out already. But the other seem to be doing OK, at least for now. It is one of those beautiful day with great looking Cu that can lead to high speeds, but with the very strong wind, 15 - 17 kt, getting low is "unfriendly" as the thermals are very chopped down low.
Since I haven't included photos recently, here are two taken on the grid this morning.

"Small" task for Day 8

Today is the day for the "small" task: a 3:00 hr TAT for the Club Class toward the North, West, backtrack North, then due South to home. The small task today is to give them a bit of rest after the Babayaga of last night (a WWGC tradition of introduction of the new comers into the "witch society," complete with bon fire, witch costumes, and broomstick), but also in anticipation of tomorrow's likely long task in what the weatherman labeled "the best weather of the contest." The other motivation for smaller tasks today is the possibility of thunderstorms at the end of the afternoon. The wind is also very strong, about 15 kt at the ground.

The start times today spread from 13:47 PM, 2 minutes after gate opening, to 14:27 PM. Sarah left in the last group with the two German Libelle, Christine Grote and Doerte Starsinski and the Italian LS1-f, Elena Fergnani. Ayala Truelove and her British teammates, as well as two of the French, Laetitia Moreau and Sophie Burgevin, left in the first group at 13:47. The third French, Magali De Cachard left 10 minutes after her teammates, while the Czech and Poles took their start around 14:01 PM. The three groups probably won't see each other on course, so it will be interesting to see which strategy wins the day.

The Club Class has the trackers today, so you can follow them on
Enjoy, and more news after the arrivals.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Another good day for Sarah

This was another good day for Sarah, who tied for fifth for the day. There were two landouts just short of the field, including the French Magali. Both of the two who landed out passed the finish ring 4 Km out high enough to make speed points, but not high enough to reach the field. For the first time this morning I saw combines in the fields starting the harvesting of barley, but at this point maybe only 5% of the fields have been harvested. Hopefully everything went well for both of them.
The true winner of the day was the British Ayala Truelove, who managed quite a feat by beating her two teammates by nearly 100 points and all the competition by more than 130 points. The day saw some dropping in the scores, so now the top 6 (8 yesterday), including Sarah, have opened a 130-point gap with their followers, and are all within striking range, with only 117 points separating them. This is VERY TIGHT competition. These women pilots are the world "creme de la creme" (as the locals would say) of feminine racing, and seeing such a competition is truly fascinating and exciting. Three more days to go, and everything can still happen at the top.... Stay tuned.

Mid-afternoon comments

It is 5:15 PM here, and they still have about 100 Km to go, due upwind in an approximately 15 kt wind. The sky has turned mostly blue in the northern and eastern sector, but there are still a few Cu in the Southern sector where they are. The weather has essentially turned to the "a bit worse than expected" scenario that we had anticipated yesterday. Start times were as early as 13:45 PM and as late as 14:29 PM. Clearly different strategies for the day. Sarah left at 14:22 PM, at about the same time than most of the top contenders. It is going to be interesting to see how the different decisions will pay off with respect to risk management today, in particular regarding the current top contenders staying with, and jokeying within, the very small point spread among the top 8 in Club Class. I say very small spread and top 8, instead of 9 yesterday, because an incident during the roll-out after landing yesterday resulted in unrepairable damages to the glider of Swaantje Geyer, who was the leader of the Club Class, essentially putting her out of the competition, and leaving the remaining top 8 overall within a 79 point spread, a very small margin indeed by IGC scoring formulas.
I expect today will be a key day toward the "final stretch" of the next 3 days...
Some thunderstorms are now expected during the night and possibly morning, so it is still uncertain whether tomorrow will support a task, and there is the possibility of only 2 days of flying left. We will know more tonight. Stay tuned.

Day 7 under way

They have left about an hour ago on their task for Day 7. For the Club Class, it is a 270 Km AST with a route in the southern sector very similar to yesterday's route. The airmass has dried a bit and they are seeing greater altitudes (~6500 ft). The wind is still fairly strong as yesterday and there is some chance of the Cu disappearing later on course (and therefore leading to a long return upwind in the blue), but at this point the Cu still appear plentyful in the task sector, so we keep our fingers crossed for them for good climbs and fast speed.

Yesterday's question

Just a quick post this morning since many sent e-mails requesting the answer to the question in yesterday's post: It was both (and not a coincidence), but Sarah actually enjoyed having company, so all turned out for the best for her.
The weather yesterday ended up much better than forecasted, so the early start did not pay off as well as we expected, but it did minimize the risk of getting stuck late in the day on an upwind return leg (and lose lots of points) if the weather had turned worse than expected. To answer other querries in the e-mails I received last night, let me just say that the daily strategy at a World Championship is quite different than at small Regionals or even National contests. Management of the probabilities to gain points versus the risks to loose large amounts (that would put one practically out of podium contention) depending on the task and weather forecast for the day is much more the key here. To put it simply, point spread management may be much more important than pure placing at the end of each day, at least until the ultimate days. For example, four days before the end of the contest, being sixth overall 80 points from first place may be a much better spot to be in than third overall and 125 points from first, as Sarah was yesterday. More in later posts about the topic, as the next 4 days may illustrate quite a set of unique strategies.... Did you notice that a "gap" in the overall scores has occurred (~ 300 points), while the top 9 overall are within a spread of only 111 points?

Monday, July 8, 2013

Another beautiful soaring day for Day 6

They are on their way for Day 6. The Club Class has an AST of 289 Km in the southern sector, first Southeast, then due West, then backtrack East until just South of the airport, then back home via a turning point for arrival on Runway 11. The flat southern part of the course is due to several prohibited areas that are active again during week days. Cloud base is high, approximately 6000 ft, but the wind is also high, in the 15 knot range. I expect the 289 Km task to take them around 4 or 4.5 hours. Because the day is expected to end a bit earlier than yesterday, and not wanting to do the last two legs -- that represent about 120 Km almost due upwind -- in a dying sky likely to turn blue around 5 PM, Sarah left as early as possible at 13:54 PM , just 4 minutes after the gate opening time and between 10 and 30 minutes before all other competitors... except for one... the French EA (Magali De Cachard), who stands in second place overall just ahead of Sarah, and who left about 40 seconds behind her today. Whether this is going to lead to an improvised collaboration for the difficult return late in the day upwind and probably in blue thermals; or a case of leeching to secure an overall position; or just a coincidence; we will have to wait until tonight to know for sure... But needless to say, with just 5 days to go including today, the competition is getting "serious," if not intense already, among the top contenders. The last 4 days, all forecasted to be flyable, are going to be interesting, for sure...

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Third on Day 5 with 993 points

Although cloudbase and thermal strength were higher than predicted, the strong Northeastern wind sheared the thermals, particularly below 800 m (~2500 ft), resulting in slower speeds than expected, around 70 Km/hr. Sarah did quite well with a third place for the day for 993 points, which brings her back to third overall.
Most competitors were on task for nearly 5 hours. It is interesting that, although they did not fly together but only saw each other occasionally during the flight, the top nine for the day achieve scores less than 60 points apart, quite a small spread by World Championship scoring formulas. This is a tough competition.

Great looking sky for Day 5

On the line and in great spirits for Day 5, under another Uvalde-looking sky.

Forecast was for 1600 m (~5500 ft) cloudbase, but I have already seen altitudes of 1950 m (~6500 ft) on the trackers, as well as 3 m/s climb rates, quite better than yesterday. This should be a fast day.
The Club Class has a Turn Area Task with minimum time of 4.5 hours, taking them Southeast, then Northeast, then North all the way to the edge of the Paris TCA (thanks to all the normally prohibited areas that are open for the weekend), then South toward home.
The Club Class carries the trackers today, so you should be able to follow Sarah on or go to the organizers website and select "Live Tracking" under the "Follow the Races" menu.
Sarah left last, about 10 to 20 minutes after the other gliders, but seems to be doing very good on the first leg. As I write this, she has already caught up with some who left before her.
Enjoy the tracking for the afternoon... More later if we get some news from her.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

A solid 3rd place for the day on Day 4

Sarah produced a solid 3rd place for the day after nearly five and half hours on course, and nearly seven hours in the air. All the scores can be accessed through the link to the organizers website on the right hand side of this page under the menu "follow the races."
She is back up to fifth overall, and ready for the second week of this championship. The forecast continues to look good for the upcoming days, so I expect at least a couple more days of long tasks. Stay tuned.

Mid-afternoon comments

I guess many learned their lesson yesterday about the dangers of playing too much of the start gate roulette game. Some late starters yesterday (some after 15:20 PM) got into trouble on the last two legs, going upwind in a vanishing convection, and as a consequence finished way over time, ending up flying 4 to 4.5 hr on the 3:15 hr TAT. Today, the entire Club Class started within a 7-minute window around 13:15 PM, as soon as the convection was well established. This is a good thing, although I think still a little bit late considering the fact that we are now expecting the task today to take about 6 hours and that the convection is expected to weaken significantly after 6:00 PM, and to be all but finished by 7:00-7:15 PM. Time will tell...

All radios have progressively become very quiet during the last 15 minutes, as all the gliders are probably nearing the end of the long upwind leg, some 90-100 miles away. We expect to hear back from them in about an hour (about 6:00 PM) when they'll get back within about 100 Km range.

Just a few words about yesterday: The small gaggles that had formed before the start rapidly separated or lost sight of each other under the spread-out clouds. Sarah had an OK flight, but flying by herself without the benefit of one or two teammates (the WWGC allows 3 pilots per country per class) to help her search for lift under the very wide and flat spread-out clouds, she ended up doing two low points that slowed her significantly on the upwind legs. She was a little disappointed, of course, but considering that we still have probably 7 days to go, there will be plenty of opportunities to regain her spot near the top. Stay tuned and keep checking with us during this upcoming final week.

Long task for Day 4

They have gone on their Day 4 task. The Club Class has an AST of 413 Km with 5 turnpoints located mostly in the Northeast sector.  During the weekend several airspace zones are open in that sector, which otherwise does not support tasks due to the multiple prohibited areas with various, and mostly low, altitude limits.
Take-off started at noon, as planned, quite earlier than normal for this site. The sky now is reminiscent of a good day at Uvalde, with nicely spaced Cu reaching around 4500-5000 ft. But looks are deceptive, as thermal strengths have been nothing like Uvalde so far today. The voices that we occasionally hear over the radio sound quite happy when calling lift better that 2 m/s (4 kt). I haven't heard a 5 knotter being reported yet. So, with 413 Km to go, a 10-15 kt wind, and assuming about 80 Km/hr (50 mph) average speed for the Club Class, this is likely to be a 5-hour task at least, more probably 6, if not 7 hours, depending on how the cloud cover evolves .

A Uvalde-looking sky (without the high climb rates) over still-uncut wheat and barley fields to the horizon

Friday, July 5, 2013

The "slow-trigger" tow pilot strikes again

We just returned from retrieving our tow cable, and I cannot resist posting the photo below: Our "slow-trigger" tow-pilot stroke again.... Several crew got lucky that one end of their cable was apparent on the runway, so could just pull it out of the wheat field; others got less lucky and are still meandering through the tall wheat as I post this...

They are on their way for Day 3

As expected, the take off was postponed a bit, and for this reason the task was changed to task B, a 3:15 hr TAT taking them on a tour around the Chateauroux airspace. The task includes five areas, but really only two to play with because the radii are respectively 5, 25, 25, 5, and 0.5 Km. I expect them to start around 2:45 PM, which will get them back around 6:00 PM, kind of a late arrival considering the forecast.

The good weather is making its way back to us

Lots of happy smiles at the pilots meeting when the weatherman announced that the good weather was back. Early cloud base is forecasted around 800 m (~2500 ft) AGL, rising later in the day to near 1300 m (4400 ft). The 15m Class got AST tasks for their task A and task B, and Club and Standard got AAT of 3:30 hr for task A and 3:15 hr for task B. First take-off is scheduled for 12:30 PM, but will probably be postponed on the grid to allow time for the thermals to strengthen a bit and cloud base to rise a few hundred meters.

The Team wore their lucky T-shirts today, and we take the opportunity to thank all those who have contributed and supported Sarah to come to this Women World Championship.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

The overcast comes down, and so do the hopes for a racing day

The overcast was at 500 meter around grid time, and hopes were that it would go up to 600 m and maybe more mid-afternoon. When at 2:30 PM the sniffing towplane reported that the cloudbase actually had come down to 450 m, all hopes went the same way, down, and the day was canceled. Forecast for the remaining of the contest is for flyable weather every day from here on, improving greatly next week with temperatures soaring into the 30+ deg. C (~ 86 deg. F, literally a heat wave for this area). A demain donc.

A "gift" from the Brits

The british club of Lasham brought in some PR materials and distributed them at the pilots meeting this morning. Unfortunately, they seem to have brought more than just cute PR goodies with them for the day.....

Nevertheless, all gliders are on the grid, with a planned take-off time scheduled for 1:00 PM at this time.... More news a little later.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Fetching cables

You may have noticed on the photos of previous posts that a cable is in front of each glider on the grid. At some European contests, and particularly French contests, each pilot is typically required to bring his/her own tow cable. The reason is not totally clear (liability? cost? prohibition for towplanes to land with cable attached?), but having a cable ready at each glider certainly speeds up the launch. The drawback is that the towplanes release all the cables at a designated area on the field -- here at the threshold of runway 18 -- leaving to the crews the duty to drive to the drop area after the launch has been completed and to find their cable -- among sometimes impossibly tangled mess.

The trick, of course, is a colorful and unique set of tapes on the cable for easy finding and recognition, but even that does not guarantee a frustration-free retrieve.... A lot also depends on the release accuracy of the tow pilots.... On the first practice day, a Team complained because they walked and searched all over the last 1000 feet of Runway 18 in vain, and therefore assumed that someone must have inadvertently "borrowed" their cable. A similar issue occurred on the following practice day, this time with several other teams unable to locate their cable. Serious conspiracy theories were starting to develop, until one of the crews had the bright idea to extend the search area a bit. In the photo below showing the crews wandering on the runway in search of their cable, the key is the chest-high wheat field on the right hand side of the photo. Every runway at the airfield is bordered by such fields, and it appears that one of the eight towpilots could use serious practice at cable-dropping accuracy, because all the missing cables were subsequently found in wheat fields, about a eighth of a mile away from the runway centerline.

From here on, every crew has been dreading for their pilot to be towed by the culprit towplane, knowing that if they get unlucky (one out of eight chances), they probably will have to wade through chest-high crop for possibly a long time to retrieve their cable. Hopefully someone who will remain unnamed has used the rest days to practice his cable-dropping and improve a bit on his accuracy for the rest of the contest.. :-)

Another day canceled

The forecast for today was poor as of last evening. With rain starting during the late evening, and drizzle certain to continue this morning, the organizers were kind enough to send each Team Captain a text message during the night canceling today's task and pilot's meeting. This provided us with a much needed rest, including a late wake up, slow breakfast, lazy morning, and time to catch up with emails and other chores. Weather for tomorrow is still a bit uncertain, but the forecast is then for soarable weather every day thereafter until the end of the championship. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Try, try and try, but the day got cancelled

The weather this morning did not look very promising, although the weatherman assured us that there would be a window of flyable weather with a patch of "good unstable air" moving our way, however with thunderstorms possible as early as 5:00PM. The primary tasks were Assigned Area Tasks with a first leg to the North (with a small 5 Km radius on the turnpoint) to get away from the airspace directly East and West of the field, then a leg toward the West to an area with a 25 Km radius, a third leg toward the Northeast to an area with a 25 Km radius, and return Southwest to Issoudun via a steering turnpoint with a 5 Km radius. Task times were initially set at 2:30 hr, with the backup tasks using the same route, however lower times.

The initial take-off time of 12:30 first got postponed to 1:00, then 1:30, while the sniffer tried desperately to hang on. Plenty of time to relax on the grid.

The 15m Class was at the front of the grid today, followed by the Club Class, then the Standard Class. At 1:45 PM, we got the call that the Standard Class Task was cancelled, but 15m and Club were planned for a 2:00 PM launch with a reduced task time of 2:00 hr. The sniffer felt that the famous "window of good air" had arrived -- and indeed some Cumulus had appeared in the Northern sector -- however the expected duration of convection would be too short for the class launching last to have any chance at a decent task.

15m launched at 2:00 PM, as planned, and a time for their gate opening was announced, but the sky rapidly turned dark and overcast. The Club Class task was cancelled before their launch, and the 15m task was cancelled shortly after that, just before the planned time of their gate opening. Back to the trailers to de-rig the gliders in anticipation of the coming storms this evening. Unfortunately, tomorrow does not look much better. Stay tuned.

Monday, July 1, 2013

On the way for Day 2

They are on their way for Day 2, a 270 Km quadrilateral task to the North, West, backtrack East, then South back home. The zigzaging task is due to the limited area left by the set of airspace active today.

The Southern sector is blue, but some Cu have appeared North, although under a fairly thick overcast. This is probably going to be a tough task.
Today, the Club Class carries the real-time trackers, so you can follow Sarah and the rest of the Class on    or   go the WWGC2013 website and use the link under "follow the races."