Another spectacular day of Texas soaring – can’t wait to get home to Ohio and see how quickly I belly-flop down after searching fruitlessly for one of those Texas-sized 10kt bottom-to-top average thermals! ;-).
The weather out on course today was a bit more ‘interesting’, as there were great big blue stretches that had to be traversed in order to get into what clouds there were. On the first leg, you had to fly about 50 miles west in the blue to get to some clouds, and for your reward you were treated to spectacular climbs and runs, but only for about 20 more miles at which point you hit the back edge of the cylinder. When I got out there and saw that the clouds continued to the west and south as far as I could see, I thought seriously about abandoning the task and just seeing how far I could go. However, my saner self re-asserted control, and I continued slogging around the task. After hitting the back of the first circle, then the trick was to traverse the blue expanses again to get to another cloud field about 80 miles to the east, about halfway into the 2nd circle. Once there, then things got good again, and the run south to the 3rd circle, then west again to the 4th (last) circle was pretty good.
At the end of the day, Tony Condon (YYY) flying a beautifully restored Cherokee II won the day by nicking all the turn cylinders and making it home again. His ship sports a handicap of 1.5, which means his raw distance and speed gets multiplied by 1.5 to arrive at his handicapped distance and speed. Great job Tony!!
Dinner tonight was at Cooper’s – a world famous BBQ house here in Llano (Apparently, then Texas Governor Bush would often fly into Llano to have lunch at Coopers). Anyway, Dave Coucke, his lovely daughter Anna, and Tony Condon and his wife, and I were all seated at the same long trestle table, and we were laughing about the fact that Tony had beaten me by 14 points for the day, and my trailer probably cost more than his entire glider! Of course, yesterday my very expensive glider flew right over Tony on final glide, while he was preparing to land out, so maybe there is some small advantage to a 45:1 Ventus 2bs vs a 25:1 Cherokee II ;-).
Two more days to go, and nary a drop of rain in sight. I’m packing in more flying in the last two contests (Uvalde and here at Llano) than ten seasons at my home club in Waynesville, Ohio. Stay tuned for more reports.