Monday, June 18, 2007

Goal Post

Some of you may know that Don has tried to nickname me Goalpost, because over the years I've had a few incidents where I found myself strung between two masts or trees on landing approach. I don't know why he thinks that's such a big deal - don't we all try to thread the needle every now and then? Well, Ray has taken that nickname for himself as of today, and I am posting about making goal myself today, so this is my Goal Post.

My ultimate hope for these two weeks of competition was that I would make goal one day. Now I guess I've achieved that goal on the second day!

Yesterday the conditions were very difficult (for average pilots like me) and our local guru Paul described the thermals as Snot Rockets. That was a fair description, I think. Former Big Island pilot John Ivey came down under his reserve after a collision in the start gaggle. I had a really tough time yesterday, and spent a very long time just trying to stay up, and also struggling to make each waypoint on the task. I finally made all of them, and headed down the last valley towards goal, but by that time I was so wiped out that I just meandered down the middle of the valley for a landing 6k short of the goal line. But still there were a record number of pilots in goal (51 out of 108) and four of them are Hawaii pilots: Marty and Rick from Maui, and Ray and Jetflap Jeff from Oahu. Jeff cut it very close coming into goal and snagged a tree as he landed.

Today, the weather conditions were the same, and a similar task was called with the same goal point. But the conditions were even a little bit snottier than yesterday, and there was a hard low inversion that made it hard to get very high.

But still a new record number of pilots made goal - 55 today. The fastest pilot made it in something like 57 minutes. I was the very last pilot in goal, at 2 hours 9 minutes. But I was in the air for over three hours, since I took the first chance to launch, an hour ahead of the start time. Ray was there waiting for me, and Paul, the local pilot we're staying with. Scrappy and Jetflap came close but didn't quite make it. Greg and Bob also made all the waypoints but didn't make goal. It was a tough day. The weather is supposed to get nicer - cross your fingers! The official results should be posted soon on the Rat Race website (check the link on the right). But in the meantime here are the cumulative results for Hawaii pilots after two tasks:

46 Brazilian Ray
58 Martin Herne (Maui)
63 Jetflap Jeff
64 Me
66 Paul Smith (Maui)
67 Scrappy
69 Dexter (Maui)
72 Quentin
80 Rick Wilson
87 Bob
88 Dangler Greg
98 Nick

We made it!!

Lucky day for Alex and me (Brazilian Ray), we both made it to goal today. Alex for his very first time (4th task ever)!!!

I made a very, very noticeble landing.... I was so low, I flew between some trees for the crowd's amusement. As everybody was cheering, my GPS started to beep indicating I made goal, so I turned upwind just inches off the ground for an upwind landing. In the meeting everybody was asking were you "that guy" -- maybe I shouldn't wear my SOL shirt. Congratz, Alex! Aloha, Ray

By the way, is "Murdoch" a Hawaiian name?? Man, this family knows Aloha!