Chelan Butte PWC July 20

Lots of cloud around, which was both good and bad.  On launch it was a bit of a shit show with light cycles and people not getting up, so I got off launch quickly to escape the fray and take my chances in the air.

It was not easy going in the air either, northeast wind and light thermals down low meant it was very hard to get high and stay high.  I got very low a couple of time I was too low to make it to the LZ, and had committed to a possible walk out (or hike back to launch) if I couldn't find anything.  But I was able to get myself out of there and back up to cloudbase (about 2500m over the Butte, although it got to about 3500m by the end of the day).

By now the start had come and gone, and most people had left for the first TP.  Most people chose the flatland route, but the group I was thermalling with chose the western route (over the airport etc).  I didn't want to go that way so I was pretty much alone for the glide over to the flats, and once there had to grovel for a long time before getting high.

But once high there was a nice cloudstreet all along the rim of the flats all the way to Brewster, so I just had to stay under them and top up when needed.  I got my best climb of the day just after tagging Brewster, and it was a good thing I got this climb as that was going to be the last for a bit.  It was overdeveloping on the flats and most of the ground was in shade, so the entire glide to Bump in the Road was just a glidefest.

There were some other gliders with me at this point, Cherie and Melanie (the "girly gaggle"), and we were able to work some light lift over the powerlines on the way to the last TP when it started to spit rain.  No more lift there, so on glide over the river with the hopes of finding something on the other side and perhaps over town, when the call came in that the task was stopped due to rain.

It was getting suspiciously lifty so I big-eared it and spiralled my way to the soccer field to land in light rain.  It was also raining comp gliders all over the place as people were landing as soon as possible to avoid the possible cloudsuck and big clouds that we suspected were embedded in the cumulo-stratus layer.  About 40 pilots in goal before the task was stopped.  Tracklog is here and photos are here.  Because the task was stopped, the new PWC rules say we'll be scored according to our altitude at the time, and given an adjusted distance given a 2:1 glide ratio.

Had the task not been stopped I think we could have made the last TP no problem, since it turned out to be so lifty over the river, and probably goal as well.  But given how lifty it ended up getting all of a sudden, it was probably a good idea to play it safe and stop the task before it got potentially dangerous.  We have lots of flying left!

Bill Hughes tossed his reserve just after the start and Pawel landed next to him to assist.  Bill was fine and is just looking for a replacement reserve handle, if anybody has an extra one :)

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