The Club Class team had a rough day today. JP did better, finishing respectably in the middle of the pack. Noah and I tanked. We completed the task at a very slow speed after having made a lot of tactical and strategic errors. It felt like a day we pinballed ourselves into the worst solutions. In the end, we came in 25 minutes under-time with a 500 point loss for the day. At least we didn’t land out and do worse.
I was exhausted from the marathon the previous day. I didn’t get a good night’s rest and pretty much staggered out to the airport. The day was trickier and the task-setter settled on a three hour AAT. I think it was a Mea Culpa to try to get everyone around for the day.
High cloud cover, slow starting and blue conditions made it tough early on. The gaggle kept waiting and waiting and waiting to start. We miscalculated on the weather this day. We thought it would collapse considerably earlier than it did and were very antsy in the start.
We were patient and waited along with everyone else. Noah found weak wave and was having a great time up at 1700 meters. JP and I fell out of the band and struggled to get back in starting position a little after 2pm. Finally the herd went and I was close enough to Noah that we started together. JP was still struggling to get up, but we couldn’t wait at this point. He managed a good start with the Germans.
Noah and I left with the Czechs and connected with a solid first climb under a Cu. I climbed well and caught up to Noah, minimizing the 500ft separation on the start.
We limped along into the first sector and had a big decision to make. There was a line out in the distance and we pondered whether to go. It was decided that it was too much of a gamble and we turned at that point, along with the Czechs.
This was a big mistake. It cost us 200-250 points as it worked out well for those who went there.
Approaching the Tisza River, the conditions softened up. We climbed up, though not quite to cloudbase. The Czechs left above by about 400ft and headed for the turn. When we left, it was dead smooth. Not climbing to the top was a tactical error. When we got to the turn, we were too low to comfortable make it back and parked in half of a knot to get a bit higher. The Czechs turned though there were gliders ahead. To compound the tactical error, the gliders ahead found three knots for a solid climb back across.
We climbed up maybe 100-200 meters and that got us back across. We found a weak 2 knotter and worked our way up. We deviated north, heading downwind of the airport toward a promising Cu. It did not work.
Now we were falling out of the band. The guys who did better went double or nothing; heading further north toward a line of clouds. Seeing how our day was working out up until this point, both of us agreed that this was a bad bet. It was approaching 5pm and the clouds had not worked out all that well this late in the day. We thought others were struggling as we were and decided to climb at all costs.
We fell down to 550 meters and dug out. At this point we had one more opportunity to head west and passed. Between these two opportunities, we lost another 250 points. We were boxed in; we could either head west or south back home. We chose to go south, came in way under-time and accepted a meager performance for the day.
As Ned Kelly said, such is life.
When we got back, we got the gliders back in the box, had a quick dinner and collapsed in bed. I had well over 12 hours of rest after this one and I’m in much better shape to fly. Wednesday looks like a much more straightforward day. We have four more contest days to perform well and we are looking forward to doing so.
See my flight here.
See our scores here.