Report for the GTA race at Monroe, GA August 23-24
Rank Points ID Name Glider
1 1999 FS Silva, Fernando ASW-27
2 1933 BZ Mittell, John ASW-27
3 1759 H6 Ruf, Chris 303 Mosquito
4 965 FP Pin, Francois ASW-27
5 915 DL Linnekin, Dennis ASW-27
Rank Points ID Name Glider
1 1230 22 Kanes, Panos ASW-24
Saturday promised a great day soaring and was pretty close to that. Our intrepid weather guy and CD Fernando Silver gave a very good weather brief and then called great tasks for both classes . The cloud base was over 6000 ft MSL, although the lift was not quite as strong as forecast. Still we had a lot of fun and found it a great learning opportunity. The task was a 4 turn area task that ran generally NW and SE with last turn just north of Monroe. After 2.5 hrs Fernando Silva FS came in first followed by Francios Pin FP John Mittell BZ and Dennis Linnekin DL all flying ASW27's. FS captured the 1000 point and the next 3 finishers were close and all had scores in the 900's. We topped off the day with a great hamburger feast hosted by the Mid-Georgia Soaring Association at their hanger. We had a lot of fun talking about the flight and visiting with the other participants.
Francios missed the race on Sunday as he had to return home. The morning brief promised a late day and a relatively short one so the CD called a MAT. While we waited for the morning clouds to burn off, Fernando gave us view of the WX forecasting tools he uses. There is a lot more to it than I get from looking at XC skies. The task got changed several times and the CD settled on a 2 point MAT that took advantage of the winds from the NE and the HCR (horizontal convective rolls) AKA "streets". Again we started from the SW start and proceeded to a turn point near Athens directly up wind. BZ followed FS leaving shortly after gate opening. This was a great learning opportunity for BZ as FS found the path to the first turn that resulted in flying over 21 miles without the need to thermal. The turn point was partially guarded by a small rain shower but the lift next to it was great, and BZ and FS climbed back to cloud base and started south west toward the next turn. Enroute there were some strings of clouds that were perpendicular to the winds and our course but provided lift. By the time we returned to Monroe the day had pretty much died and the pilots all decided to terminate the task early.
The day turned out better than any of us expected that morning since we had to wait for safe and fair conditions but is capped a fine weekend of racing.
I have found that such races are a great way to get introduced to the world of competition and XC flying. In the GTA new comers have the option to compete in the B class which is generally easier and more appropriate for pilots with limited experience flying XC or lower performance gliders. If you have never joined in on a GTA or regional race near you, I recommend that you try one; I believe you will like it and learn more in one weekend than you will over many weekends flying at your home airport.
If you want more information about the GTA series please contact me or visit GTA-Racing.org.