This morning we were awoken bright and early to the sound of jet engines launching an ASW 20. The morning went smoothly and I had everything organised well ahead of grid time. So much so that I was beginning to get convinced that I had forgotten to do something. In the words of the Contest Director the day was set to be a "corker" (really good). Although I think they may have slightly over-judged the day, it was set as a fixed point 317.2km task.
I left on course pretty early, following shortly behind several of the top contenders. I was also anticipating a long day and didn't want to be caught away from home late in the day. The first leg went well, but I was unable to catch up with the people who had left before me. Shortly before the first turnpoint the winner of the day (also flying an LS4) caught up with me. Coming out of the first turnpoint we were flying together. On the second leg we managed to catch up with some of the other gliders, playing a game of leap-frog between thermals. The second turnpoint was located on the other side of the flooded Murray river, so I made sure to come in with lots of height which paid off as there was lots of sink in the area. I set of on task to the third turnpoint with 3 other gliders in sight, and enjoyed some strong climbs with them. I came up to the third turnpoint strong riding a good cloud street. However, I grossly underestimated the amount of sink that would be found around the third turnpoint. I came into it lower than I should have as the area was surrounded by flooded river on three sides, and leading up to this heavily irrigated areas of fruit crops. I had to duck back out of the sector before reaching the sector to gain some extra altitude. At this point two of the gliders I had previously been flying with overtook me at much higher altitudes. I gained some height, and thinking I had enough, went back into the third turnpoint. I came out once again very low, but this time was not able to climb away. Although I scratched above a field being plowed for a few valiant minutes, I soon found myself sitting frustrated in a paddock. I was soon joined by another glider.
Overall, the contenders agreed that it was a much tougher day than anticipated. Many flew large sections of the course around 2000'. Many also came in very low on final glide. I am determined to focus on my flying, not letting the spirit of competition push me faster than I should be flying. I am hoping that this will prevent me from landing out another day this contest.