We played around in the blue
The winds were out of the east at Wilotree Park as we launched
around 2 PM. I was first to launch but had a weaklink come untied at 15'. No
damage to me or the glider so now I was last to launch after Mick Howard and
The cu's had disappeared around noon so there was obviously an inversion which
was why we waited until 2 PM. John and Mick were doing well enough drifting to
the northwest while I found lift on tow and stayed with it climbing at 230 fpm
to 4,000' about 600' higher than John and Mick were able to get to. I came in
over them north of Mascotte as they were working weaker lift.
We don't get much lift near the chicken coops so headed north at 3,200'. There
was a little zero but not much so I headed for the smoky fire north of the Grass
Roots airfield. John found it also to my west and Mick came in at 600'. John
climbed to 4,200', with Mick and I below him. We drifted in an east southeast
wind paralleling the Turnpike.
After working 200 fpm we got to the prisons and got stuck in weak lift. John was
not excited about taking the jump of eight kilometers to the reasonable landing
fields by the intersection of interstate 75 and the Turnpike when we are not
getting very high.
Not finding much I left at 2,900' with John unseen by me heading out also. Down
to 1,500' over the high tension power lines I found the first lift which brought
over John and Mick above me. We drifted west in an almost due east wind climbing
at 100 fpm to 2,300' (for me).
We were 11 km to the west of the course line to the goal at Leeward with a much
stronger east wind component than was predicted. There were lots of different
kinds of birds around and we kept using them for guidance.
We worked even weaker lift over the interstate drifting again to the west
northwest. We were being push further away from the course line (up to 15 km
west of it) faster than we were climbing. It was almost two hours into the
flight and the sun was getting low.
I stayed in the lift as I was the lowest guy while Mick and John headed due east
to get more back on course. I just wanted to stay in the air. Unfortunately I
was heading toward the trees around Marion Oaks.
At 1,700' I headed northeast to get over a better retrieval area or perhaps find
some lift after 4 PM but it was not to be. We all landed at about the same time
15 to 18 km short of the goal. It was all a great time being patient.