Peter need to stay local so he could drive to the airport after flying, but Jason W and Scott L were up for some XC flying. I packed the tent, loaded the car, and tracked down gliders while everyone else rigged. Pilots were heading to the launch line while I was still getting ready.
The day looked good at first, but cloud cover was on the verge of being too extensive by launch time. I was dropped in a weak, but consistent climb, that ensured I wouldn't be landing soon like a few other good pilots were.
Wallaby Ranch (lower left)
I played near base waiting for Jason and Scott. I used up most of my altitude watching a pilot get low over a field of nearly invisible 10 foot (3 m) sprinkler heads downwind of Wallaby Ranch. Everyone that flies here knows to avoid the field, so I assumed the pilot didn't know about the hazard and might need help. I radio'ed to Scott, who was on the ground waiting for a tow, to let the crew know someone was landing there. I hung out overhead until I saw the pilot successfully land between the rows of poles and then immediately flew back to the ranch to avoid the same fate.
Lucky for me, I found a solid climb over the orange groves and was soon at base playing with Wolfi and a few other pilots.
The only thing I heard from Jason was he was heading north, so I raced off in hot pursuit. The climbs were slow, but the drift was good towards my turn point at QuestAir. I was almost there when Jason announced he was on the ground not far from the ranch. That explained why I couldn't find him in front of me!
QuestAir (lower center)
I flew over QuestAir at cloud base and headed back to the ranch. I soon realized the combination of wind and weak climbs meant I was making slow forward progress; I would glide forward, get low, take a weak climb, and then drift back to the place I started the glide.
After several of these cycles, combined with my low energy levels, I decided to give up and land at the Seminole-Lake Gliderport.
I was greeted by several sailplane pilots, including two ex-hang glider pilots.
I watched the sailplanes launch and land as I packed up. I also had a chance to talk with Russell B; another nice surprise. It was early enough in the afternoon that Peter was willing to drive my car over and pick me up. Thanks Peter!
I briefly talked with Jason when I got back before he took off to fetch pilots in Groveland. I loaded the remaining gliders and hit the road. I was running on empty by the time I got to Jacksonville 3 hours later and called it quits for the day. It was a "good" tired.
Flights: 1, Duration: 2:10, 32 miles