Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Serious practice

Today felt like a real practice day. It was the first day that most of the procedures of a contest day were followed, and a large number of competitors participated. Mistakes were made by both pilots and Organisers*, and at the end of the day, we apologized to each other in the cantina.

The weather forecast was 2-3 m/sec to 2000 meters**, with few Cu. They called Racing Tasks* in all three classes, with moderate distances and three or four turnpoints. The World Class was first off, and by half an hour after their last launch we were beginning to wonder if we missed the call to open the Task. Bill and Tom, who are here to practice, not to hang around waiting for us groundlings to sort things out, elected to head out on course. I couldn't get a definitive answer about whether the Task was open, so I told the Team to consider the Task to be open in all classes. That trick works only on practice days, of course. The Organisers promised to do a better job tomorrow.

All five of our pilots had good flights (Sarah chose to rest one more day). Sean made it around without his partner, enduring a double battery failure on the final leg. Bill cut the corner after two turnpoints in order to be home to work on the glider. Tom caught the French team at the first turn and escorted them the rest of the way. Phil and Peter both finished their Task, but had a bit of trouble staying together. The loud music on the Team frequency didn't help.

Approximately fifty gliders arrived back home between 5:30 and 6:00 pm, and the resulting flight log uploads (or I should say "attempted uploads") took us off the internet for the rest of the day. Anticipating this, the US Team was ready with couriers to deliver memory cards to the scoring office. I'm sure that we were the only team that did not violate the Flight Documentation Interval.

No scores have been published. In fact, nothing at all has been published in the results section of the contest website so far.

Two more practice days, then a day off, and then the show begins.

*These are the official FAI terms. I'll try to publish a glossary soon.
**Yes, we are metric here. Get used to it.

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