We were home at 03:00 after day 6, so I’ve not had time to write up any details here so far. I’ll summarize the long 370km flight in a separate post sometime soon.
Quickly on day 7 – Classic Forbes racing conditions, but very cold. I launched first as I “won” the alternate launch lottery, and had to waint for 1:30 in the sky for the first startgate. I was shaking of cold after 45 minutes, and decided to loose som altitude to get down to 1500m where it was a bit warmer. I lost a lot more than that trying to get back up, and very nearly landed at the edge of the start-cylinder. I found a rowdy thermal getting me back up from the trees to cloudbase. I wished I was warm – Careful what you wish for…
From the start it was an OK run for me, Olav Lien Olsen and me caught up the leaders at the first TP, and there we split up, I went a bit right where most pilots went and Olav did the right ting and headed left to the better clouds. He did a great flight from there and came in just seconds behind Gerolf, and might win the day.
I took it a bit slower as I really did not want another drama landing short, and came in very high over goal around 15. place just before Opanger and Johnny Durant crossed the line.
As we were setting up at the “Bill Moyes International Airport”, we saw a area of overcast and rain moving towards us creating shade just as the first pilots were towing up.
I was way back in line to tow at 21. position in the green line, and it took a very long time to get all pilots airborne today. The bad clouds were over us by the time I could start. I got towed into rain, and it became quite heavy as as I was thermalling up in weak lift, I got soaked and the weak lift turned into heavy sink, so I had to run downwind and find another very weak thermal to try to stay airborne while the glider dried up a little.
I eventually got to 1200 meters drifting in a weak thermal, but got some very bad lines after both the next low saves and lost a lot of time. Around halfway to goal I had to cross over a shaded area with no indications of good lift anywhere, and no other gliders were visible ahead of me. It did not work and I had to land 86km from goal.
It was one of those days when the timing with lift and couds just never linked up for me. In retrospect I should have waited at the last cloudbase for some more pilots to join or just to drift a little more before crossing the shade, as the rest of the courseline had lots of sun and good clouds all the way to goal.
Olav Opsanger made goal with a very good time, Olav Lien, Erland and Thomas also landed out, as did many others, it was a difficult day with high winds and broken rough lift.
Forecast for tomorrow is less winds and better lift, hope it turns out true.
The forecasts were quite bad for flying for today, and we had rain and gusts waking me up during the night, so when we woke up to completely overcast skies, wind and cold temperatures, nobody thought we would be flying. The task briefing showed some more positive signs on the RASP forecast, but it still felt like a untaskable day.
We got a 113km task downwind via the SUCK turnpoint (Which did not improve the mood among the pilots :-)) with goal at Tullibigeal. I was among the first to take off, but since the conditions were predicted very weak we had elapsed time instead of the normal race start, so we could take the 10km start at any time withouth having to wait in the air. This meant that if we got up all the early pilots would get going on the courseline so it was not a big disadvantage to start early.
As I was laying down on the dolly ready to take off I noticed a dustdevil in front, picking up and turning over Blaino’s Dragonfly tug that had just landed to tow Olav Opsanger who was next in the other line to my left. Blaino was OK, the plane was slightly damaged and needed a new prop as the engine was running when it hit the ground, I heard it was back in action a quick propeller replacement later. It was quite suprising that we had a dustdevil on a completely overcast and dark day.
I released from tow thinking it was still just a matter of staying within glide distance to the airfield so I could re-launch once we all landed again, but I found a weak thermal in the shade a few km downwind and soon had a few other pilots joining in the same area drifting with the wind and climbing very slowly to around 1400m.
I met up with Thomas just at the startgate after 10km, and we flew together with a few other pilots for the next 50-60km in broken and weak lift, but as we passed the sucky area with the turnpoint we could see a bit less clouds ahead and a few tiny cu’s were forming under the higher clouds.
I met up with the Olav’s as we were getting closer to goal, and we started to speed up a little as we were getting caught by the pilots who startet later than us and used the improving conditions to catch up.
I had a 13:1 glide to goal 16km out, with 15-20km/h tailwind, but got a terrible line with massive sink, and got very low 4km out, but finally found a turbulent thermal 100m over the trees that gave me enought height to glide to land in the thistle-infestet goalfield. The Olav’s came in just behind me, with Thomas and Erland dribbling in later.
113km and the whole team in goal on a overcast day that nobody thought was going to be flyable – How good is Forbes?
We drove through rain and a gustfront on the way home, and the forecast for the next days are rain, so even less chance of flying – But who knows, maybe we get another race under the clouds.