I was the third glider in the air at this worlds. We launched into weak conditions but after a few minutes the thermals triggered quickly. I climbed and headed for the cus that were about 20 km out. This was a bit risky but worked out for me and I had an easy prestart period. It was 2 hours before I started with the last 10 or so gliders. We are using a start height limit on a 10 km start line. There is no speed limit or time period below start height. My start was not as good as I would have liked as red line is the best. I had a great flight until the last leg where I was 500 meters higher than Mike Young who started with us and he beat me home by 15 minutes. I flew too fast into a cycling, end of day sky and floundered for 20 minutes. I flew 36 km in 38 minutes, starting and ending at 2500 feet agl. If I just went home with Mike I would have been 70 points behind the winner (PBTW) for the day instead of 229 PBTW. As it turned out, Ĺ the people who started late had the same problem I did.
It was really tough for me to get a start on Day 2. A Wilga launched me from the left grid into a strong 30 degree crosswind from the left. From this left grid the Wilgas turn left and drop you over the airport at 600 meters above the ground. You then have to turn right off tow and head away from the drop zone. You are not suppose to thermal in the drop zone at less than 800 meters. Everyone headed upwind to catch a thermal. The problem was that the thermals were very weak to non existent and gaggles of very low gliders drifted back into the drop zone. There were soon about 65 gliders on our side doing this. After 20 minutes below release altitude I find a 2 knot thermal at 600 agl that saved a lot of people. I spent most of the next hour and ten minutes below release altitude before I finally started at 2500 agl. The sky was better in the direction of our task and it was getting late. From here on I had a better flight. I caught and passed a number of gliders that started 20 minutes ahead of me in the first 50 km. My friend, Adnan Mirza, joined me at this point and we continued on together. We were flying out along a river and pushed pretty hard while the conditions were good. There was a large band of upper clouds forming between us and home. Adnan chose to turn back about 2 km before the end of the AAT area and I kept going to the far edge. As it turned out, Adnan had a much harder time getting home than I did because I was able to go into the second AAT area on the far side of the hole and then able to get a climb to max day altitude to cross it. He crossed it lower under the dying cus that soon disappeared. My decision also gave me more distance however, I decided to turn early in the second area to make sure I got home. Another glider that was out there and continued deeper into the second area, got home about 35 minutes after I did. I slowed down on purpose coming home and was still 2 minutes under time. Final glide was into a dead sky as conditions never really improved at Leszno. I knew I had a good flight but I also knew that to get a first would have taken going deeper into the second turn area. I was happy with 8th place and only 61 PBTW.
They really are launching us in weak early conditions here and it looks like standard class and 15m class will be launched first each day (side by side on two grids). We had a long 432 km racing task today (assigned) and we could not reach the sun until we got 85 km from Leszno. I started with the French (day winners), but decided to push on ahead of them as I didnít want to be tagged a follower or have them complain I got in their way. Big mistake. I pushed so hard I got low and actually got away from 300 feet AGL. The biggest problem was that I had to drop my water and after I got to the sun I really need it in the 5 knot streeting sky. Conditions were great for the next 250 km and I had to slow down a bit to come back into the overcast sky. There were sun holes and some lift under the upper clouds. I then made my big mistake. I left 4 thermals that would have got me a safe final glide and pushed on under a line of clouds to better my 100 foot safety, 0 MacCready glide. I lost 100 on final glide in 8 km and decided I had to stop under the last wisps at 1900 feet AGL to take that slow climb. There was no climb, and I landed 20 km out. I think I should have pushed on, but really should have gotten final glide earlier. Not getting home cost me 250 points. I would have been much happier with about 350 PBTW today than the 600 PBTW that I got. There is always tomorrow.