We had a 98k task (61 mile) starting at Suwannee County Airport in Live Oak Florida, traveling east-southeast 75 km, then 26 km north to a small airstrip.
The day started with fog, then a sky filled with cumulus, and then dried out to blue. The wind was west-southwest around 12 mph (16 k/h).
My launch position was 2/3 of the way back, but I decided to "wait my turn" instead of launching early. When my turn came I only managed to climb above the tug before my weak link broke and I landed in the prop wash with a bang. ;-) I checked my glider, attached a new weak link, composed myself, and then stepped back into line for another go.
Things went well until around 400 feet (120m) when Russell got knocked around in the tug and me soon after. I almost locked out, but managed to save it. Just as I thought I was through it, the tug suddenly dropped and the weak link broke with a bang. The air was rough even off tow. A tug coming in powered back up instead of landing in crap. I tried to hang on long enough to let the turbulence work through and had a good landing.
There were only a couple pilots left on the ground when I left for the third time. Mark dropped me off near climbing pilots and I slowly ascended while finally relaxing a bit.
I waited around at the top for the few pilots left at the field and then pushed on towards the start circle. I had a great start for the last gate; crossing high a few seconds after it opened. The flight went well until I messed up a climb at Keystone Airport. I started a glide with Alex but watched the altitude between us grow as he flew deeper over the trees. I faded in his direction but stepped into sink and was forced to run to a prison yard for landing.
It was obvious which sections of the prison had razor fencing and guard towers. There was one field that looked level and large enough to land on. However as I flew over, I spotted large posts scattered all over the field. Dang. I quickly ran to a clear-cut area immediately downwind of the prison and started cursing my fate. The field was active, but not enough to climb out from. The field had been logged and replanted so there was nothing really tall, but brush was scattered everywhere. I flew through a dusty on final without much ado, but had a sloppy landing and let glider's nose touch the loose sand.
Aside from the heat, long walk, and poison ivy, I thought my retrieve would be simple. However, a couple prison guards showed up asking for identification and wanted to know if I was OK. Two more guards showed up about the time Linda flew overhead asking for the wind direction. She had a great landing a few feet from the small crowd. Once their attention turned to her, I carried my glider to the tree line for shade and began packing my glider and about 30 pounds of sand.
After a bit of bush-whacking we got our gliders to the road with Amy and Rob's help. Amy and I drove to goal to pick up Richard. As expected, I learned just about everyone made goal. Sigh.
We broke up the long drive to Moultrie Georgia with a stop for dinner in Valdosta with several other pilots. We were bummed to hear that Eric busted his elbow on landing and was waiting for surgery in Gainsville.
Tomorrow (well, today now) is the last day of this year's rally. I hope the weather is good; I want to prove to myself that I still know how to get to goal!
Flights: 3, Duration: 2:01, Distance: 32.9 miles