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2007 Gulgong Classic - Day 4

... We fly to Bill Moyes' place at Rhylstone. ...

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With a forecast for a front coming through and local thunderstorms, the task committee called a short 67 km task straight down wind to Rhylstone, a country airstrip that Bill Moyes uses for towing with the Dragonfly. It is a few hours from Sydney and not that far from Mudgee and a few small ranges over from the Hunter valley.

The launch times were early, and there was only forty five minutes to get going for the first start time after the pilot meeting, so I got going right away and was first off. There were no cu's in the vicinity but a line of cu's coming in from the west. The winds weren't strong, even though that was the expectation given the approaching front. There was a cu-nimb off in the direction of goal.

I found lift right away. Scott was next but broke a weaklink low. Trent Brown was towed up just upwind of me and found better lift so I joined him and we climbed out quickly.

Trent went to the edge of the 5 km start circle by Gulgong and I stayed with him. We were the only pilots around. I went back to get the second start timer with Scott and Cameron. Trent went on the course line by himself.

We headed south instead of south southeast toward the goal to get under the fast approaching clouds. The winds were out of the west at 15 mph and the shadows were moving fast.

The lift was reasonable under the quickly forming cu's and it was easy for us to get up. We were well west of the course line heading toward Mudgee and getting further away from the course line.

Near Mudgee we headed toward a east west ridge line that aimed toward the goal. We were 10 km west of the course line. I came in over the ridge line and found lift that was a bit rough but not bad. Working down the ridge line Scott was in the lead. Trent, Cameron, Tish and I were just behind.

I worked the broken lift down the ridge line always drifting toward goal. The cu's were forming up strongly now, but the lift wasn't all that strong. Trent joined me at a thermal 30 kilometers out from goal at the end of one of the valley were were crossing. Scott was just ahead. We had lost track of Cameron and Tish.

Twenty kilometers out Trent and I worked on our final thermal to get to goal. We were jumping over another range to get to the valley where we would find the Rhylstone airstrip. I watched the 6030 (with my magnifying lens) to see how high we needed to get to goal. When the 6030 said that I had goal by a little over a thousand feet (assuming neutral air on average on the way in) I headed out. Trent followed quickly behind me.

It was a 16 km glide to goal and Trent came up right next to me, just ten feet below me. We came over the last hill by just a hundred feet. The goal was 6 km away. Trent made a left turn while I continued straight on glide toward goal.

The 6030 user field "Altitude above Goal" continually decreased from 1000'. Two kilometers away it said I had the goal (and the 400 meter circle) by 100 feet. I made my way through the trees spotting the air strip ahead. I was thinking that I might have to land down wind to make the circle.

At about fifty feet I entered the goal cylinder flying at best glide speed the whole way. I was able to turn the glider 90 degrees. The winds were light on the ground.

Trent landed 5 km from goal. Scott, Cameron, Tish, and Curt Warren made goal. Curt came yesterday after transmission trouble with his car in Tamworth slowed him down a bit. A few more pilots came in later.

The sky filled with cu's and made the lift a bit weak behind us. There were nearby cu-nimbs with thunder near the goal an hour after we landed.

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