Benalla Storm

Benalla Storm

Friday, December 24, 2010

JG - Contest Day 5

Friday, December 17

The weather today looked very marginal, and even at grid time we were not certain we would be set off on task. As a result of the poor conditions the task committee opted to keep us close to home, setting a run task of 83.1km and a task time of 1.5 hours. They launched the first few competitors, then opted to hold the launches as they were all struggling and quite low. After a delay the rest of the grid was launched and the start gate opened. I found the conditions incredibly challenging, and was unable to effectively read the sky and the clouds. I knew it would be important to get started early before the massive over-development set in. I also knew that it would be important to get to cloud base and stay there to have successful day of flying. Despite my efforts I was unable to get higher than 4000' (cloud bases were at approx 6500'). I finally decided to make a go of a start despite my low altitude, but by the time I got over to my start gate I was back down to 1800'. I continued to try to look for lift, but was unable to find anything substantial. I opted for a re-light. By the time I re-launched a huge wall of rain was downpouring enroute to the first turnpoint. Also by this point the rest of the field had already made it around the course once. Although I did attempt to start, hoping the day would cycle and I would find lift behind the storm, it was not looking good. I opted to land back at the field rather than facing an almost certain land-out. I have never had such a frustrating day in the air, being unable to set out on course. I hope that I will learn from this experience.

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