Sunday, January 6, 2013

Good Report - Tres

WGC2013 report – 04 January

Our final practice day featured weather that was better, but unfortunately not quite good enough for any actual sailplane racing.  We awoke to sun and northerly winds under 20 kts (which after a week in Chaves we’ve come to think of as fairly close to light and variable).  The weather forecast called for good soaring as long as mid-level clouds stayed thin enough to allow decent sun on the ground.  But we were also warned to expect significant cloud by mid-afternoon, with the possibility of rain and windy conditions by late evening.

Most gliders gridded and the launch began around 1pm, with a bunch of World Class (PW-5) gliders being towed northwest into increasingly gray skies.  Only two classes were launched (the task for Club Class was scrubbed early), and pilots did reasonably well (in the sense of staying airborne) until about 3pm, when discretion overcame valor and landings began.  All were on the ground by around 4:30, and on the advice of the contest weather office most were “in the box” not long after that.

Most PW-5 and some Club Class gliders have an open trailer.  In view of this the contest has made an interesting provision by which these can be sheltered from bad weather: a warehouse is available about a mile from the field.  Many glider trailers were late this afternoon seen making their way east toward this sanctuary.

The US Standard Class is staying at an estancia (ranch house) about 11 miles northeast of the airfield.  Despite a longish drive and some minor issues with hot water and a shortage of electrical outlets, this is a truly fine place.  Like most country homes in this area, it is surrounded by tall trees that give shelter from the frequent winds.  This provides attractive habitat for many bird species, and the show these put on of a fair-weather morning is something to see & hear (we take our morning tea on the veranda, which gives a first-rate view).  Few of these species are common in North America. There is a dove that sings “who cooks for yooouuu” during all daylight hours. Favorites are probably the fork-tailed flycatcher and the vermillion flycatcher (the male of which sports a red color on his head that may be unmatched by any other species).  We were also favored with a swarm of bees that attached itself to a post in our front yard and was still there a day later (in spite of a short spell of heavy rain).

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