The weather forecast was for another good day with a later finish. An official rest day was declared for Saturday, when the weather was expected to be weaker and cooler.
With much enthusiasm and hope, the fleet was launched. However, early starters – perhaps with an eye on the conditions later in the day – were soon disappointed and some, including a few of the Czechs, had to turn back to find a reasonable climb.
The teams were a bit puzzled as to why conditions were not better. Certainly, east of the Kaputar range was a not a good place to be.
As the day progressed it became clear that this was a day to see who could go furthest before landing out, either by starting the engine or by actually landing in a paddock or airfield.
Ground crews began to gather around their team bases and cars and prepare their glider trailers. Soon one glider landed, then another and, as the afternoon progressed, more and more landouts were reported.
The usually hot and lazy afternoon at the airport turned into a flurry of activity. But at the tactical level, teams became focussed on how long their pilots could stay on course to gain valuable competition points.
As we write this report, crews are driving all over the area picking up pilots and gliders. Many gliders had aerotow retrieves while others were able to start their engines and motor home. Other pilots, even though their gliders have engines, landed at alternative airfields, as the end of daylight and poor visibility made it safer to land away from Lake Keepit.
Some pilots are staying overnight with their gliders in remotes towns, no doubt recounting their adventures to the local residents as they await retrieve in the morning.
The scores are now in and put Australian Alisa McMillan once again at the top of 18m Class for another great day win. She held on tenaciously, covering as much distance as she could before starting the engine on her JS1 and landing at Narrabri, 90km from Lake Keepit.
Defending world champion Katrin Senne took 2nd place followed by Anne Decarouge in 3rd and her teammate Mélanie Gadoulet.
Today’s win gained Ailsa one place, so she now holds 5th position overall. Defending world champion Kartin Senne from Germany is in 4th place, Liz Sparrow from Great Britain is in 3nd position, and the two French pilots Mélanie Gadoulet and Anne maintain their 1st and 2nd slots.
In Standard Class Aude Grangeray from France won the day gaining 600 points. Britain Ayala Trueliove took second place followed by German Cornelia Schaich. Australians Lisa Trotter and Claire Scutter came in 4th and 6th places.
American Sarah Arnold maintains her position at the top of Standard Class. She is followed Aude Grangeray and Ayala Truelove in third position overall. Lisa Trotter and Claire Scutter will be pleased – despite a dusty and hot retrieves, they both moved up two slots and are in 6th and 7th positions.
In Club Class, Czech pilot Barbora Moravcova won the day. She was followed by Australian Jo Davis in 2nd place and Ines Engelhardt from Germany in 3rd.
The top of the Club Class table remains unchanged with Jo Davis 1st, Céline Rault 2nd and Christine Grote in 3rd place.
Weatherman Dave Shorter and task setter Bruce Taylor could not have picked a better day for what many think is a necessary mass land out day in a World Gliding Championship. The International Night has been rescheduled to tomorrow evening, and tomorrow is a rest day. So despite many long retrieves and tales to tell, as least there was no flying today.