2007 Gulgong Classic - Day 7
... Dark, windy, rainy, low cloud base, we fly. ...
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It seemed as though only Scott and I had a good attitude about the day. We were always willing to give it a chance. The sky was full of low clouds with a cloud base at about 2,000' AGL (the ground level is 1,500' here). The wind was about 15 mph out of the east. There were very few spots of blue and it looked like there were higher clouds over the low clouds.
It looked like rain was coming as the task committee set a small down wind task 55 km toward Wellington. A number of pilots were not setting up and some were leaving thinking that the meet was over.
A few took off but they weren't getting up. Trent Brown found some lift over the hangar as I took off after him. The sky was beginning to open up and it was light blue over head. Belinda radioed that Trent was climbing.
I got pulled into a thermal at 1,500' AGL and started climbing. Trent landed as did Peter Dahl who launched right after me. Other pilots were encouraged to launch as I climbed out. There was a cloud street over me nd it headed downwind toward goal.
I climbed to cloud base and stayed there at 3,000' AGL. The clouds in the cloud street were dark, and the lift was light at base, so it was possible to just stay there at the base by pulling in enough to over come the lift.
I headed out alone at 1:10, the second start time. Cameron was behind and lower, but saw me head down the cloud street. He figured he would be a few minutes behind, but might as well follow me.
It was easy to stay at cloud base all the way to the hill fifteen kilometers out. There the cloud street broke up and I went looking for lift under cu's and on sunny hill sides facing into the wind. I spotted Cameron behind me just at the edge of the last cloud in the cloud street before the hills.
I worked cloud after cloud and hill side after hill side finding little bits if lift, but nothing to get me back to cloud base. Cameron came charging after me as I circled in light lift over the hill sides. Before he got there he found a cu just forming to his right and climbed out to cloud base.
Scott and Trent were working together ten minutes and ten kilometers behind us. Armand and Warren were getting up at the tow paddock.
I headed down a ridge in the sun light facing into the wind. I found a bit of lift but also a very upset Wedgie eagle that went on the attack with loud screams. A few turns in the light broken thermal and I decided to bale before the eagle hit the wing. I landed behind the ridge.
Scott and Trent were to my north drifting down wind. Five kilometers past me they would get down to 450 feet before finding a strong thermal and be on their way. Cameron was staying high and on his way to first into goal.
Scott and Trent made it into goal next and they were playing around in the lift when Belinda and I arrived in the retrieval car. As soon as they landed the heavy rains began. A few minutes later Armand and Warren who started ten minutes after Scott and Trent came into goal. They all broke down in the rain.
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