Day 2 at Minden

So far, each day at Minden has brought something new. Today’s novelty:

Well, those clouds weren’t quite so big when we got started.

At the weather briefing, we learned that the atmosphere south of Minden had grown moist enough to support the formation of rain and thunderstorms. These would build above the Sierra Crest and be gradually drawn east by a thermal trough centered over inner Nevada. It is not uncommon to skirt rain clouds during soaring competition, but it is not conventional to fly underneath them! Thus, it was unclear whether the day’s assigned task would work—it featured a leg that grazed the eastern edge of the Sierras for a bit. Once the gliders were in the air waiting for the start, the contest director asked one of the higher ships to peer southwards and report what they saw. Much as anticipated: blooming clouds that were due to grow rainy before too long, but nothing that couldn’t be steered around. Worth a shot. The task was tweaked a bit without eliminating the Sierra leg, and we were off.

Below, the task (blue) and where Mike and I wound up going (red):

Drat—I would love to write more, but I have stayed up too late working on a program to convert our video recordings into YouTube-sized pieces. Stay tuned for that, though—it should mean almost daily flight videos, provided I don’t mess up with the camera again. Long story short: it rained, we flew around it, Mike made many on-the-spot tactical decisions to rack up points in this modified assigned task, and we’re still a solid third overall!

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