Barbora Moravcova, Czech Republic, Club Class, looking forward to her flight.
Once again the forecast weather became a bit weaker overnight. However a good thermal day was predicted at briefing by weatherman Dave Shorter. Overnight the easterly sea breeze had created a dust and smoke storm. I made the mistake of stepping outside my air conditioned room in the dark to have a sandblast hit me in the face, as if it were taking the old paint off an FJ Holden getting a restoration. In the morning, I felt less embarrassed about my old car, as everyone’s car is now caked in dust. The morning, while hazy, was noticeably cooler and everyone was hopeful for another great soaring day.
The tasks were set with a start to the south before a long leg northeast taking all classes to the east of Mt Kaputar and into the hilly area.
The leg north took the fleet into thicker smoke than envisaged. The contest Dimona was launched to assess the conditions and the pilot Dave Conway and task setter Bruce Taylor reported acceptable visibility of more than 15km. However, where some of the gliders flew a bit closer to Kaputar, they encountered worryingly poor visibility until they passed the peak of Kaputar.
Late in the afternoon the forecast changed - showing very poor visibilty on the final leg home for all tasks. In view of this the decision was made to cancel all tasks. The paramount concern was safety. Of particular consideration was the forecast of increasing smoke on the final leg back to Lake Keepit.
Anna Piotrowska, Poland, standard Class keeping cool before launch.
The new priority became finding their way back to Keepit through the smoke, which nearly all the fleet did without incident. At least some of the 18m Class pilots were disappointed with the decision to cancel the day, as they were running well and had not been in the worst of the smoke. But many of the Standard and Club Class pilots were relieved as at times they had been unable to see the ground.
In the evening, Australia Night was held in the nearby Sports and Rec. It was a great evening with musical entertainment from the Edwards Brothers – former Australian world gliding champion Brad and his brother Bill – and an excellent dinner with Aussie pavlova.
Relaxed, we will see what the weather brings tomorrow as light rain falls in (some) areas in the south of our burning country.