Once again I don't think anyone was too inspired by the forecast this morning. Weatherman John Lubon said it was going to be blue blue blue, unless a crazy thermal was heated up enough to make it up to the lofty altitude of nearly 7000 feet. So, we all expected solid blue. What most of us did not expect was that the late would be very slow to start. We left the pilots meeting with a 3 hr TAT from CD Mike "Hutch" Hutchinson and everyone was on the grid well ahead of the noon grid time.
John Lubon launched in his ASG-29 and reported weak lift. Eventually our official sniffer, an LS-4 I think, was launched and then landed back. Once again he was launched and once again he landed. Crews were starting to talk about local attractions that we might be able to visit if the day was called early enough. However, Hutch had other plans for us and soon emerged from the clubhouse with a new task, now a 1.5 hr TAT to the east, just long enough to exceed the 1-26 minimum distance of 30 miles. It was decided that we were going to launch the fleet and see if they stuck. Sure enough, they (mostly) did, with only a few relights. Pretty normal for a 1-26 contest.
There was a HUGE gaggle just east of the airport, right on the edge of the start circle. I was in a good position at around 4000 MSL when the gate opened. On a blue day you definitely want friends to fly with but considering the hour it was also important to get going. I started around 3:30 PM with several others. Along the first leg into a light wind I flew mostly with Kevin Anderson (192), Bob Von Hellens (244), and Curt Lewis (216). By the first circle, unfortunately, Curt and Kevin had gotten separated from Bob and I, and even more unfortunately, Jim Bob Slocum (142) and Jeff Daye (053) seemed to have caught up. Oh well off Bob and I went on the second leg back to the west, nicking the second circle right about the time that I got final glide. I was the first one back and was pretty happy with my flight. Jim Bob somehow managed to pass most of the gaggles on the first leg and won the day decidedly, with a blazing speed of around 25 miles per hour. Mine was around 22 but still good for 930 points so I'm pretty happy with the first days performance.
Probably around half of the field landed out so there should be plenty of activity in the morning. We're all of course hoping for a little better weather, although so far the weather seems to have been slightly exceeding the forecast. Hopefully that can keep up. Here is my trace for the day.
Steve Vihlen is flying team with his son Ryan in 267 and they are doing the reports on the SSA website so you should check them out. Scores are also posted there.