Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Day 1

Finally we got to fly. The start was utter and terrifying ciaos. There are 43 open class gliders and we were nearly all in one thermal waiting for the start of the gate opening. It was sprinkling a little and cloudbase was around where we all were. The Flarm was lit-up like a Christmas tree, I even used the strobe light, which is mounted on the top of the fuselage. We started on course took a huge left turn and followed the shelf around the rain. SS thought it would be a grand idea to eventually turn right and slide under a lower part of the shelf, almost after the rain. We then had a few markers, stopped in some grand less than 1knt stuff. Got some of the water out before lower gliders came in, which involved keeping a little more water than desirable. However by the next thermal the tanks were empty. I thought going north again another 90degree deviation was best, however the pack was heading back on coarse at best L/D to get the turn and hope to make it back to the clouds. I then saw 22 head north, but opted to stick with the gaggle. Somehow I ended up on the lower end of a pack, SS ahaid, calling "4knts if you dont mind a little rain".....at 1200ft I mind a little rain..but eventually the sight of him climbing got the better of me, and off I went. It was really not the smartest move of the day. "Hope is not a strategy"....we were way beyond hope at this point. Sure enough in the light rain I connected something that took me to cloudbase and eventually the gaggle I was with was about my altitude. So it payed off, and I will not try that again. However SS had nearly 10km on me....but he called out a few climbs and the weather ahead.....invaluable. As we pressed on I watched the pack head to the climb SS had called out, and I stopped early for a stronger one. Then again SS called out a climb the pack was heading towards and alone I was able to center a better climb. Then a third good climb was marked and I was less than 500ft behind SS....thank you for those. We ran along a shelf and life got pretty good, as good as it can below 3000ft and looking at rain. Then we glided into the turn...in rain...then out of the turn...in rain, and the rain got worse, and we got lower. We did see one glider at cloudbase out of the turn, I think he got on the other side of the shelf we ran and it worked better. But a mess of open class gliders were low scratching around in something that was sinking, just not as fast. Then pilots were rolling out and lifting engines. Eventually I did the same. SS says my voice changed when I radioed it had started. It did not start the first time, which was very rude. However the field was superb looking, which I had checked it out when we glided over it too low the first time. I watched 2 other guys land-out, 1 engine out. SS radioed a little later he had also re-started. The climb and 2 thermals to get home were uneventful.

tomorrow is another day.