Forecast for today was sunny and light winds from the south. But no cu’s, and some high cirrus came though occasionally. A 62.2 km task was set: Butte to Sims Corner, then goal at Leahe.

The launch order today was decided by your FAI ranking. However, the first 20 minutes was allocated to whomever wanted to launch, without having a higher-ranked pilot butt in front of you. After the first 20 minutes a higher-ranked pilot could butt in front of you. Subsequent days will be determined by your comp ranking from the day before.

The launch window opened at 11:45am, but it had been soarable for at least 30 minutes prior to that (and probably even earlier) as the wind-dummies were showing. However the pilot’s meeting ended about 11:40am, which didn’t give anyone enough time to get their stuff on in time for the window to open and take advantage of the first 20 minutes. By the time any of us had gotten our stuff on, the 20 minute window had passed and it was time for people to start butting in.

Fortunately there were continuous cycles up Ants, Between the Rocks, and Green Monster, for everyone to get off. The air was punchy and a bit rough, smoothed out as you got higher. Not much drift but slightly to the north.

Since the start cylinder was a 3 km exit cylinder, and the 3 km mark is pretty much the middle of the river, you had to stay on the Butte until the race started, and then head over en-masse. Reached the other side and found a nice thermal with some other pilots, enough to get us past the power lines, and onto the flats where the lift was abundant.

The winds were quite southerly, so it was actually a bit of a headwind to Sims Corner (about 50 km away), and the thermals were drifting the wrong way. It got worse the further south we flew, especially lower down. Finally at Mansfield I made the mistake of getting low and caught in the winds, and ended up landing at Mansfield, in Martin and Mia’s HG LZ next to their house.

Packed up on their lawn and met Ivan and Luc, then Mia gave me a ride part-way back towards the Butte since she was chasing after Martin in that direction already. Nice cool grass and shade to pack up in is much better than doing so in the moon dust in the hot sun in the middle of nowhere!

About 30 pilots made goal…if you could tag Sims, you were golden since Leahe was downwind of Sims and only 10 km further. The trick was staying high all the way to Sims, and being patient with the thermals tracking the wrong way and driving forward after topping out.

Brian Webb had a rather “fast” landing…he was headed downwind into goal about 70 km/h, got the goal cylinder about 20’ off the ground, no time to turn around and land into the wind…he landed downwind skidding on his harness on the only patch of green grass in a sea of sagebrush! Josh Cohn missed the Sims TP due to his thermal taking him the wrong way, ended up at Leahe, and then drove back upwind to tag Sims before turning around for Leahe and goal for the 2nd time. Good going!

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