Sat 23rd: Day 1

I opened the batting for Team FVV. We rigged and washed our glider and put her on the launch grid before the 10 am briefing. At briefing we found that the initial Club task was a 190 km triangle: out to Newmarket, northwest to Market Harborough and back.

I started fairly early because conditions out toward Newmarket looked better than those in the start area. The run to Newmarket was OK, but getting round the turn point was quite difficult: there was a big blue hole over the town. The first stage was to get to a couple of small cumulus clouds near the race course and top up on height in a weak thermal before gliding past the turn point and out north-east to a cloud street that ran north-west in the general direction of Market Harborough. I arrived under the street at 1200 feet and struggled up to 2500 before a long, slow run for 80 km past Ely and Peterborough to Oundle in dim gloomy conditions under a dark, dismal line of rather ill defined clouds. This may well have been frontal cloud: a cold front was forecast to run through that area more or less in alignment with the wind. In this stretch my operating height varied between 1800 and 3000 feet. At one point I went through a small rain shower, but my wings soon dried and there was lift on the far side. Conditions brightened and the lift got stronger as I approached Oundle and picked up a tail of four other gliders. I wasn't last yet! These were the first aircraft of any type that I'd seen since leaving Gransden Lodge two hours earlier. I led this procession past Oundle and across Corby, using widely separated clouds, before picking up a street that took us to Market Harborough. Once there I burst out of the gloom to round the turn point in the middle of town in bright sunshine. There was a wonderful cloud street at the south edge of town so I set off down it as part of a stream of gliders going to and from Market Harborough; the lift where I joined the street was so strong that there was no need to stop and climb. The street ran down to St. Neots and on past Sandy. We all left it as we came down toward St. Neots after a 50 km run, to start the 20 km final glide from 2800 ft. This was one of the most enjoyable and easy legs I've flown. I accelerated far too late, barely 4 km out, to cross the finish line at 800 ft and not much over 110 kts and complete my first competition flight.

Day 1 trace

I got home in 3 hrs 11 min for 18th place.