Task: West to Kumbrilla Rd intersection then west again to Meandarra Hwy.
A quartering tail wind with a slight dog leg lay ahead.
Again clear blue skies in the morning and clouds started to form around 10:00am. Winds light ESE.
It was forecasted to overdevelop from the east.
Briefing was at 9:00am with the usual banter and a few helpful remarks on the towing for the previous day. A pilot was missing but was found late at night due to not having a radio and having lost his cell phone.
It was decided to have the start gate at 12:15 due to the overdevelopment, so there was a bit of a rush to get set up and ready. The Sport class got away first followed by the Alternate launch and then the Main launch started.
Thermals were strong around the airfield with one sitting just to the east of take-off. A gaggle had formed high above the airstrip, with a second gaggle a few km to the west, both topping out at 6800ft.
Ten minutes before the start, the pilots over the airfield joined the main gaggle to the west and when the first start gate opened over 30 pilots headed west looking like a formation of planes flying off to battle. With around 30 pilots in the air thermals were found easily and height gained quickly but the top guns pulled away from the rest and as progress was made towards Wpt 1 the gaggles started to thin out.
A few top pilots landed on the first part of the course but they were pushing hard to get out in front.
After reaching Wpt 1 you found you had 71km to goal and not far away was a 6km stretch of forest that had to be crossed. This was not a problem as cloud base had gained height up to 7800ft and an easy glide over this part of the course was not a problem, even for the kingpost gliders.
Out past the forest and flying south of Tara I encounted two wedged tail eagles that joined me as I entered the thermal at 4600ft, and stayed with me all the way up to 7200ft hanging not far off my starboard wing. I was quite nervous that they might shred my sail but this was not the case, even though one of them passed over my leading edge with its talons missing my sail by 300mm while we looked each other in the eye, no aggression was shown.
For those of us who were a little slow around the course the clouds started to thin out and look raggedy but as the farmers were ploughing their fields late in the day and thermals were still popping off, goal was easily reached. Staying between 5000ft and 8000ft during the day meant you got cold but with every cloud working there was not much chance of getting low.
There were a lot of happy faces in goal with around 30 pilots reaching goal and among them a few king post gliders. Every member of the Kiwi Trans-Tasman Challenge team got to goal.
John had a lucky break 30km from goal when he broke away from the gaggle and found a good 700ft climb to cloud base and allowed him to go on final glide to goal. With this height he only had to top up slightly on course to goal which allowed him to win the day in 2hrs 17min and gaining 998 points.
Lisa, who has been doing a great job being the Trolley Dolly for the comp, bringing back the dollies once the pilot has been towed up, managed a fantastic flight on her Fluro Orange Moyes Malibu.
After everyone got away she flew cross wind to near Chinchilla where she to land before she entered airspace flying crosswind 76km. Even Floaters can do it!
With Dalby at its best for task two, can it get any better than this?
Captain Flockhart's log:
He was heard to say that with his winning pace to Wpt 1 he was leading the day and then a snail’s pace to goal followed after taking a different line to everyone else that did not pay off. Safety in numbers was the best course.
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