US Nationals, Day 5

Another out and return today, but shorter task (80 km) than yesterday because of predicted slower conditions. Davis does the weather, and predictet slower climbs and no clouds. I was out taking flying lessons on the tug with Bobby Bailey in the morning, and thermalled the tug in a nice core at 11:30. Flying the tug with a legend like Bobby as instructor is cool. It’s quite easy to fly the tug in the air, landings are more challenging but I have done a few attempts and we both walked away. I would not tow behind myself just yet though ;-)

We got some good clouds on the course line quite early. The first start gate was at 14:30, I gaggled up with about half the field, and we all went on course at the first gate. It was fast and quite easy going south to the TP, but again the TP area was shaded in cirrus. I went a little too low to the TP and went back to the lift at the bottom of the gaggle. I struggled a little to find lift and spent 20 minutes there before we got up to 1500 meters and on course again. By then it was blue and shaded by more cirrus for the next 20 km, and I took it slowly flying with Tom Lanning and Tove Heaney while trying to get a good line. Tove is thermaling really good, I have to work hard to keep up, but my glide is much better. We got to cloudbase going upwind to the east for a while, but the next glide took me down to 200 meters above the deck at the sailplane strip 15 km south of goal. I saw some birds and glided upwind to a weak and shitty thermal. We were in the middle of the downwind leg for the sailplanes and we had a few planes whizzing by between us. Struggling and working the lift we finally got up and could glide upwind to a better thermal marked by Tove. At 1200 meters I left on final glide, and had a fast and nice glide the 15 km to goal. Total time of 2 hours and 19 minutes. I could have saved maybe 15 minutes at the TP getting higher before taking it, but hindsight is very accurate.

Jon took the second start, and beat me with 10 minutes, Olav Opsanger took a bad line from the start and came in 30 minutes slower than me. Olav Lien landed north of the TP going back.

My glider feels really good, on glide it performs better than most here, maybe the carbon battens are worth it after all… The ATOS VX’s here are performing really good, the sink and glide is much better than the flexies. I seem to always spot an ATOS on the horizon ahead of me.