Monday, January 14, 2013

Good report - Doce

WGC2013 report - 14 January

Chaves did not see a favorable weather trend yesterday.  The low cloud layer that had broken encouragingly by noon began to re-assemble itself by 2pm, as southeast winds continued to bring in moisture off the South Atlantic.  The sniffer was able to stay aloft, but apparently did not find conditions suitable for a launch, and thus the day was cancelled for all classes.

I thought perhaps the World Class, first on the grid, might be given a chance to try their luck in winds that were about as low as we've seen during the competition.  As I've noted, this class has suffered gravely from difficult soaring conditions and rules that require formidable distances for a valid day.  Over eight scheduled contest days, they have achieved just four valid tasks during which the class leader has accumulated a total score well under 1600 points.  But by late afternoon it was clear that even if they'd been able to stay aloft and start a task, no completions would have been possible, and the decision not to launch was the correct one.

I may have to take back some of the nice things I said about Juan Mandelbaum.  He was indeed unfailingly helpful while here, and has done an enormous amount to help the US Team - but after departing yesterday morning he couldn't resist sending an e-mail to which was attached a photo of the beautiful cumulus-filled soaring sky he apparently encountered only an hour or so north of Chaves, and which persisted all the way to Buenos Aires.

Today's sky at 10:00 looked grimmer than yesterday's.  Southeast winds continue to bring in marine air.  No sun was on the ground anywhere, the ceiling was around 100 meters, and light mist was occasionally falling.  Nonetheless, a grid time was announced, and crews dutifully towed gliders to the north edge of the airfield. By 11:30, some breaks in the overcast had appeared, the ceiling was up to perhaps 200 meters, and optimism was beginning to gain some ground.

Task sheets were distributed that call for short tasks to the north, where perhaps pilots can connect with some of those elusive good conditions.  A puzzling quirk is that every task for every class has the same small final steering turnpoint about  5km from home - which means that all finishers (always assuming we have some) will be funneled into the same small area toward the end of their final glides.

At the pilot briefing, the weather forecast - prefaced with apologies - called for decidedly tricky conditions: a southeast wind, backing to east, will continue to bring moisture, and a strong inversion means that even with good solar heating climbs much above 3000' may be hard to find.  But by 12:30 we see enough sun to feel encouraged that today might not be the third straight no-fly day.

[Update at 1420: Club Class and Standard Class Tasks have been cancelled.]

[Update at 1440: World Class Task cancelled before the Task opened. This was a questionable call. Tom reports that the Task was doable, and his class really needs more valid days...]

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.