Thread: Discussion Montague 2012
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Old Jun 15, 2012, 12:33 AM
rshelby is offline
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Team Horizon
United States, CA, Montague
Joined Jan 2004
221 Posts
Today was the first day of competition for the Montague Cup. We flew a 33.8 mile course. The normal Airport Rd. start line to TP 2 to TP 9 to TP 6, then back to TP 2 and to the finish at Airport Rd. The key to doing well was to leave late enough that the thermals were strong but early enough to finish before the north wind came up. I was spotting for John Ellias and we started the course at noon. What little wind that existed was associated with the thermals. Most of the thermals were as they have been all week - weak to moderate in strength but very small, regardless of altitude. There was the occasional boomer but they were very rare and still very small in diameter. John did a great job of maximizing the lift from the thermals and was able to maintain a comfortable altitude for most of the course. After 3 days of not being able to complete a course we were concentrating on that aspect rather than all out speed. He got below 300 m a couple of times but we were able to read the ground signs to find nearby thermals and climb back to a good cruising altitude.

About 2 miles north of TP 6 on the way back to TP 2 we were passed on the road by Steve Henke and we realized that it would not be good enough to just complete the course, we needed to complete it in the least amount of time. Even though Steve had caught up to us he was much lower in altitude. As soon as we had enough altitude to theoretically finish the course we started our approx. 6 mile sprint to the finish. We found more lift over Montague and at TP 2 and on the final run to the finish line. This helped ensure we could make the distance even if we ran into the dreaded north wind. As it was the wind only seemed to be a factor on the final run and it was a quartering tailwind.

We finished the 33.8 mile course in about 2 hours 10 minutes. When Steve's team arrived they said their time was 2 hours and 1 minute. Dean Gradwell's team was the only other team to finish the course today with slightly longer elapsed time than ours. We will see the details tomorrow morning when the results of the GPS scoring will be available.

This cross country stuff is really fun and very educational. The MXC is a very sweet sailplane to fly with wonderful handling qualities and very good performance. And of course the scenery here cannot be beat. Another thing that cannot be beat is the hospitality of our host, Dean Gradwell. Everything here is first class and makes for a truly unique experience.

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